London (AFP) – West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko could miss the rest of the season following Achilles surgery, manager Manuel Pellegrini warned Thursday.

The 28-year-old Ukraine international was forced off the field during last weekend’s 1-0 loss at home to Tottenham in the Premier League.

Yarmolenko has since undergone surgery and faces at least five months’ rehabilitation, with Pellegrini accepting the winger may not add to his two-goal tally this season.   

“Yarmolenko has had surgery and he will be out for around five months,” Pellegrini said Thursday.

“It’s very disappointing. He’s an important player for us.”

The Chilean added: “He’s one of the players who arrived this season, so we could have more technical players. 

“We also have Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere out, so three players in the same position are out. It’s a real pity and it’s really difficult for the team.”

Pressed on when Yarmolenko might return, Pellegrini told a news conference: “It’s so difficult to know how he will recover, but I don’t think it will be less than five or six months.”

Defeat by London rivals Tottenham left West Ham just two points above the relegation zone and they travel to Leicester on Saturday looking to avoid a third straight league loss. 

“If you review our fixtures then in the first 10 games we played eight teams in the top half, now we have teams that are similar to us,” said Pellegrini, a former Manchester City manager.

“(But) that doesn’t guarantee you are going to beat them.

“Our best games we played were against Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham, Chelsea, the big teams.

“We must know where we need to improve and play like we did against Tottenham for 90 minutes, but we need to start scoring,” he added.