Monday, January 23, 2017

Bilic warns against Manchester United distractions

Slaven Bilic has warned West Ham not to become distracted by thoughts of their looming final Premier League home match against top-four rivals Manchester United.

Louis van Gaal’s men will be the opposition for the last ever game at Upton Park on Tuesday, with West Ham set to move into the Olympic Stadium from next season.

But with Bilic’s side just five points behind the Champions League places – having played a game less than Manchester City in fourth – the manager called for unwavering focus on Saturday’s clash with Swansea City.

“It is important that we have two games left at home,” he said. “We are proud to have a good home record and we haven’t lost here since August.

“We need to be totally focused on Swansea, not thinking about Man United, not thinking about the last game at home. Swansea, Swansea, Swansea – that’s all we think about.

“We need to be at the top of our game in the last three matches to collect as many points as possible to keep that gap. With three games to go we are happy to be in contention for a European place, whether we talking top four or top six.

“Swansea are safe now mathematically. When teams play without that negative football they can produce their best football.”

West Ham have been dealt a blow with the news that goalkeeper Adrian will miss the Swansea game due to a calf injury sustained in last weekend’s 3-0 win over West Brom.

Bilic hopes to have the 29-year-old back in time for the visit of United, but has backed Darren Randolph to perform in his absence.

“We’ve got one player injured and that’s Adrian,” he added. “He felt his calf in the West Brom game and it’s a minor injury so he’s out tomorrow. 

“We’ve got a great deputy in Randolph. He’s one of the biggest reasons we went far in the FA Cup and we are happy to have him.”

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