West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has called on his forwards to step up their game, after main striker Marko Arnautović was ruled out for a month.

Arnautović has so often been the Hammers’ key player, and after suffering a muscle injury against Cardiff on Tuesday night that will see him sidelined until January, Pellegrini has challenged his other forwards to step up to the plate.

Lucas Perez showed signs of doing just that against Cardiff, scoring twice after coming off the bench to replace Arnautović in the first half.

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Andy Carroll also made his long awaited return against the Bluebirds after a lengthy injury lay-off, coming on for the final half hour.

Talking about his forward options needing to up their game, as quoted by London Football News, Pellegrini said:

We know how important Marko is for our team. We have too many players injured in a month that we have to play seven games and then in January, six more games.

But I always have the same answer – we have a squad and it is a chance for another player to demonstrate why they are here.

So we must continue working with the players that are able to in this moment and that the others can recover as soon as they can.

I was very happy with Lucas Perez the other day that he took his chance and scored two goals.

I am pleased for him because he is a player that I brought to this team. I have known for years before that he is a good striker, but for different reasons he couldn’t start in other games.

The important thing is when they have the chance, they take the chance. With the long injury to Marko, Andy Carroll is back now as well and Perez, Javier Hernandez, Xande Silva. I hope that with all of them they will cover the absence of Marko.