With just one win in their last five league games, West Ham United and David Moyes are hardly in a comfortable position. Sitting, precariously, just two points above the relegation zone, the Scottish manager would have undoubtedly welcomed the respite offered by the international break.
While the former Everton and Manchester United boss may have sought refuge away from the bright lights of league games, fans of the London club would have spent the brief break debating the pros and cons of seeking a new manager in the summer – even if Moyes can steer the troubled club away from relegation.
The world of modern football is rarely one that offers much comfort to coaches – particularly in the Premier League – where good deeds can often be quickly forgotten and the allure of the next, bright coach on the horizon can belittle any hard work done in the here and now. West Ham’s current situation with David Moyes is a perfect example of that.
At the moment, numerous reports have linked the Hammers with a summer move for former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who currently resides in Langfang, coaching the appropriated named Hebei China Fortune.
The senior Chilean coach would undoubtedly attract adoration and universal praise for his work done at some of Europe’s biggest clubs, yet that in itself should perhaps be a warning to West Ham fans that he may not be the type of coach they current need for the problems at hand.
Over the course of coaching six major clubs in South America and Europe Pellegrini has accrued no less than eight trophies to his name. And although that may illustrate the 64-year old’s pedigree as a manager it also underlines the kind of clubs he’s always found himself at – predominantly, ones at the top of their respective divisions.
Indeed, from San Lorenzo in Argentina, to River Plate, Villarreal, Real Madrid, Malaga and then on to Manchester City, Pellegrini has always been the manager tasked with winning titles or at least qualifying for continental competitions at clubs that already enjoy the resources and personnel to reach those ambitions.
Not once has he had to parachute in to a club and rip up an entire team and start again whilst simultaneously fighting a relegation battle – i.e, the job he’d undoubtedly be tasked with at West Ham.
Another reported replacement to Moyes, the charming Quique Sánchez Flores, also suffers similar managerial flaws when you peak beyond the initial buzz and false hope offered by a momentary change in manager.
Although Flores enjoys a similarly impressive CV – with stints at some of Spain’s largest clubs as well as a Europa League trophy at Atletico Madrid – he’s undoubtedly a coach that rarely settles down at a club. In his nine separate positions in the past 14 years, Flores has managed to stick around for at least two seasons at just two of them. And he hasn’t exactly left each job on his own terms.
At Watford, where most West Ham fans will know of his talents, Flores earned justifiable praise for guiding the newly-promoted side well clear of relegation and a strong FA Cup run, however his points-per-game ratio in the Premier League stood at 1.18 – which is almost identical to Moyes’ 1.11 at West Ham this season.
Couple that with the fact that his current Espanyol side have won just two of their last 10 games and are currently slumped in fourteenth place – six spots off where they finished last season – and Flores also doesn’t look as ideal a candidate when we dig below the surface.
And what about some of the Premier League’s current flavours of the month? It’s worth noting that Moyes’ ratio of 1.11 points per game is not only better than Alan Pardew and Paul Lambert’s, but also eclipses that of David Wagner at Huddersfield or Rafa Benitez at Newcastle.
Similarly, Eddie Howe and Chris Hughton, two managers deemed to be having impressive seasons at their respective clubs, enjoy minor improvements over Moyes with 1.16 and 1.13 points per game, respectively. While Crystal Palace’s Roy Hodgson sits on an identical tally of 1.11 points per game.
Naturally, with Burnley sitting comfortable in seventh place, Sean Dyche enjoys a far better record than his peers at 1.43 points per game, yet it’s unlikely that West Ham would be able to pry the outspoken coach from his favoured role at Turf Moor in the summer.
Ultimately the simple facts of the matter seem to suggest that Moyes is currently the fifth-worst performing coach in the division this season, but whether West Ham could not just identify but convince a better coach to replace him is the issue. And, if the Scot were to avoid relegation, it may be worth considering if he’s exactly what they need at this moment in time.