Pellegrini on how Arnautovic saga damaged West Ham season

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini was glad to draw a line under the Marko Arnautovic saga after admitting it was partially to blame for their FA Cup embarrassment on Saturday.

Austrian forward Arnautovic had his head turned by a big-money move to China and was left out of the squad for the defeat at Bournemouth and Saturday’s FA Cup humiliation at AFC Wimbledon.

But less than half-an-hour after the Wimbledon debacle West Ham suddenly announced that the 29-year-old had signed a contract extension.

Pellegrini said: “I have a lot of excuses why we lost about Wimbledon, one of those was that the January transfer window can cause damage to the team, for all the issues that a player wants to go, they have other options.

“But I am happy that Marko has finished his issue, he is happy here. I hope that we will have the player that he can be in the coming games.”

Pellegrini had admitted he was ashamed of his players in the immediate aftermath of their 4-2 defeat to the League 1 strugglers.

West Ham have not specified the length of Arnautovic’s new deal – he was previously contracted to the club until 2022 – but the 29-year-old has welcomed the news and rejected rumours he was seeking to force his way out.

He said on the club’s official website: “I’m happy for this and I want to say to the fans that I’m happy to stay.

“I’m glad to play again, show myself and score goals, to make assists, but also to say that the major point is Marko Arnautovic never refused (to play or train). I would never refuse.

“I’m happy, I’m happy to come to this point. I’m happy that this club is improving. Step by step, every week, every month we are seeing some improvement and that’s good.”


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