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Pellegrini pleased Arnautovic is ‘okay’ for visit of Spurs

PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 October 2018

Austria's Marko Arnautovic (second right) celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland (pic John Walton/PA)

Austria's Marko Arnautovic (second right) celebrates scoring against Northern Ireland (pic John Walton/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

The Chilean praised Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino ahead of the capital clash

Manuel Pellegrini is confident Marko Arnautovic will be fit for West Ham United’s local derby with Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium this weekend.

The Hammers will entertain their capital rivals in a 3pm kick-off on Saturday and it appears talisman Arnautovic will be available to lead the line for the hosts.

Since August, the Austrian star has struggled with a knee injury, but after being rested for Tuesday night’s game with Denmark, he should be able to play through the pain against Spurs.

Pellegrini told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Thursday: “Marko is okay.

“When he returned from the internationals, he worked with the squad without any problems, but we must still be careful about his knee.”

Arnautovic will hopefully reap the rewards from a midweek rest and continue the form he showed last Friday (October 12) when he netted in Austria’s 1-0 victory at home to Northern Ireland.

He failed to score against Spurs last season though, but did come off in the 66th minute of the league defeat at the LS and only played the final minutes of the 3-2 League Cup success at Wembley.

This time around, Arnautovic will aim to terrorise Tottenham’s defence and find the net against them just like he did at home to Manchester United last month.

Yet while the rivalry between West Ham and Spurs is fierce, Pellegrini paid tribute to opposite number Mauricio Pochettino this week ahead of the game.

“Tottenham are a good team with a lot of young players,” the former Man City boss said.

“Pochettino has done a very good job and they are one of the division’s top teams.

“Harry Kane is one of the best players in this league and they have three or four players in the England international squad, so I think they have a complete squad.

“Every year Pochettino has improved Tottenham a little bit more and I think they are a good team with a very good manager.”

West Ham will head into this match off the back of a 1-0 loss away to Brighton & Hove Albion on October 5.

It was a frustrating defeat and Pellegrini is after improvement on Saturday, he added: “I think we were very unlucky not to take something from Brighton, but if you don’t score the chances you have you normally lose the game. We hope to improve that this weekend.”

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