West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has told his players they should feel free to celebrate their goals with former boss Sam Allardyce.
Bilic has taken West Ham to new heights since replacing Allardyce at the helm and is hoping to push for a top-four spot and silverware with the club still alive in the FA Cup.
But Bilic said the whole club should be grateful to Allardyce for the platform he built as the latter prepares to return to Upton Park with Sunderland on Saturday.
Allardyce got himself in the West Ham faithful’s bad books when he released his autobiography earlier this year, in which he criticised fans for expecting too much from the team.
“The fans and everyone connected him with the club should appreciate him,” said Bilic.
“I don’t know what fans think of him but you can’t change the facts and the facts are in his favour big time. Whoever says differently, it’s not business, it’s personal. Sam did a great job here.
“He left me an organised training ground, key players, he made my job a bit easier and I appreciate it. I think and I hope he will get a good reception.
“It is a more special game for Sam that he is coming back to the place, the stadium where he was the manager for a few years.
“I don’t think it will distract the concentration but I don’t mind if we score a goal for them to go and hug him. As long as we score a goal, I wouldn’t mind that.
“They can do it four or five times!”
Bilic will be able to call on the services of Andy Carroll, while Diafra Sakho and Winston Reid are also back in training.
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