Slaven Bilic has called on the smaller Premier League clubs to target Champions League qualification after leading West Ham into third spot following a surprising start to the season.
The Croatian, who took over from Sam Allardyce after being appointed in June, has inspired his team to victories over Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Bilic admits it will not be easy to maintain their promising form but claims other teams must become more ambitious in their aspirations.
“You have a lot of surprises in every league, Celta Vigo in Spain at the moment, in Italy, Germany and England,” he said.
“But if you are talking about wonders, then the real wonder is if you are doing it for the whole season.
“It is very rare – but it is possible, of course. And we should all – all the clubs outside these top six as you call them – should hope or dream or even plan, in a positive way, about finishing in the top four because otherwise what is the point of playing?
“In every country you have surprises in cups – here you have three Championship clubs in last eight [of the League Cup] but in a league it is very difficult, every year you have someone, you can call it a wonder or a surprise package or one club isolated because they are there for one part of the season but it can be done.”
Meanwhile, Bilic, who played for West Ham between 1996 and 1997, said he was unable to police his players in their downtime.
Striker Andy Carroll has been told to improve his behaviour and Bilic warned the England international about his future conduct.
“I don’t live with him. I am not a policeman and I am not investigating their lives,” he said. “They are young people, they are going out. We all used to go out.
“All I am telling them is very normal. It is very hard to go out because of the media. I can understand they go out but it is all about timing, when and where.
“Did he [Carroll] look good after his body in history? Maybe it was unluckiness but probably true because all those stories there has got to be something in them.
“We had a few chats. He has matured. He is now, when you talk to him, like a proper man.
“Eventually it is probably going to happen, we are going to read sometimes – you know what I mean – but he is really ready to be like what we all want. I have a feeling he wants to be like that as well.”
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