Slaven Bilic openly admits he is unsure how West Ham will fare in his first season back after making an emotional return as manager.
The former Croatia coach fondly labels West Ham “my club” following 18 months with them as a player.
Bilic was announced as Sam Allardyce’s successor on Tuesday and will preside over a poignant final year at Upton Park before West Ham relocate to London’s Olympic Stadium.
The move to a bigger ground will increase the pressure on Bilic to play attractive football and improve on recent Premier League finishes of 10th, 13th and, most recently 12th, over the past three seasons.
Bilic, though, is realistic about the task ahead, as he told the club’s official website: “To be fair, we should not forget that only four years ago we were relegated, so we should get stability.
“I can’t set the standard or the goals now that we want to finish fifth, seventh, eighth or whatever.
“The fact is that we are going to work hard and I’m sure we are going to improve. Me and my players will try to get the best out of the players and the team individually, of course, so I’m expecting us, week by week, month by month to play better, to improve.
“Where it will take us in the first season, I don’t know, but my personal ambition and that of the board is very, very high.”
On his emotional links with West Ham, he added: “Why have I come back to east London? Because it’s a great club and is my club and it has never gone from me.
“It’s one of the best, if not the best league in the world and it was always my ambition to one day come back and manage this club, my club, West Ham.”
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