Manuel Pellegrini appears to have left the door open for Roberto to return to West Ham United’s lineup in the future as he insisted to the club’s official website that his recent form was somewhat out of character.
Hammers fans would be forgiven for hoping that they do not see the summer signing named in a starting lineup again. Few expected the 33-year-old to put pressure on Lukasz Fabianski. But it was still a surprise that he was so disappointing before he was dropped for David Martin.
Roberto conceded nine goals in the three games before he was dropped. In total, he conceded 16 goals in seven Premier League appearances. And while he cannot take all of the blame for that record, there is no question that he has made a number of mistakes.
With Fabianski seemingly not too far away from a return and Martin keeping a clean sheet in the win at Chelsea at the weekend, plenty of supporters may be expecting Roberto to be given the green light to leave the London Stadium.
But Pellegrini – who confirmed that Martin would start this weekend – has defended the former Olympiakos man.
“Roberto is a player with a strong mentality,” he told the club’s official website. “He has a lot of experience and a career behind him. I hope that he will keep working, forget what’s happened, and he will continue to recover his normal performance, because that wasn’t normal for him to make mistakes.”
It is not surprising to hear a manager defend his player. But Pellegrini’s comments do seem to be interesting. It does appear that the door may not be completely closed for Roberto.
The West Ham boss has backed him to rediscover his previous form. And he has suggested that his recent run of games does not do justice to his quality.
Perhaps, he may feel that he may be needed again before Fabianski’s return. Hammers fans will certainly be hoping that Pellegrini has simply decided against being too critical of his player in public.