West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has told his players they have to believe they can finish in the Premier League’s top four or they will be guaranteeing failure.
The former Croatia boss has enjoyed an impressive first season in charge, with his team sitting fifth in the table after 21 matches, one point behind rivals Tottenham in fourth.
West Ham travel to play struggling Newcastle United on Saturday and Bilic compared the importance of believing in their pursuit of Champions League qualification to sitting a driving test or approaching a girl at a nightclub.
He said: “If you ask me if we are thinking about it realistically and starting to be a little bit big-headed about the Champions League, no, we are not.
“We know that we are West Ham and we are enjoying the season and we are respecting every opponent without being afraid of them.
“Are we favourites now to finish in the top four? We are not. But nobody can take the hope and the belief out of you.”
He added: “My philosophy in life is that there is nothing wrong with being confident, optimistic or positive. For me, on the contrary, you have to be like that if you want to get any chance to make it, whatever you do in your life.
“If you go to take a driving test and you say ‘I can’t do it’, of course you are going to fail. If you got on a date and you are approaching a girl in a nightclub and you think she is going to tell you off and all that, no chance.
“But if you are positive, you have a chance. For the Champions League, or whatever – top 10, or staying up. Sunderland believe they can stay up. You have to do it, without that there is no chance.”
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