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Bilic motivated by top-six appeal

Slaven Bilic has urged West Ham to round off their impressive Premier League campaign by securing European football for next season.

West Ham bode farewell to Upton Park with a stirring 3-2 victory over Manchester United on Tuesday and another three-point haul at off-colour Stoke City on the final day will secure a top-six finish and a place in the Europa League for their maiden campaign at the Olympic Stadium.

Anything less and Southampton would finish above Bilic’s men if they can beat Crystal Palace, while fifth place beckons if the Hammers win and United fail to do likewise at home to AFC Bournemouth.

“Stoke will want to finish on a high, but all we have to do is try to replicate the performance from Tuesday night and win the game,” Bilic told a pre-match news conference.

“That will give us minimum sixth and if Manchester United slip up we can move to fifth.

“It would be nice to have Europa League football because we have had a good season and it would be good to get something out of it.” 

Stoke are winless in six matches since beating Watford in March, including heavy defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City, but Bilic believes Mark Hughes’ side have been unfortunate to come up against opponents in prime form.

“Stoke have been on a bad run, but I’ve watched their games and it’s like they’ve played teams that have been on fire,” he added. “We are expecting a difficult game.”

Fri 13 May, 2016
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