Sunday, February 19, 2017

I am not stupid – West Ham boss Bilic understands pressure

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 25 Nov 2016

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Slaven Bilic says he is not “stupid” enough to ignore the pressure he is under at West Ham but insists he does not fear the sack.

West Ham sit one point above the relegation zone following last Saturday’s agonisingly late 3-2 defeat at Tottenham with one newspaper report this week suggesting Bilic will be sacked if his side lose at Manchester United on Sunday and replaced with Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez.

Bilic says he has regular dialogue with the club’s joint chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan but is not unaware of the precariousness of his situation.

He told a news conference: “I speak to Mr Sullivan regularly after every game and in between if there is something to talk about.

“I feel support and I am concentrating on the job and our next game and that’s it.

“I am not fearful [of the sack]. I feel pressure at the moment as we are not producing, we don’t have enough points to feel safe, to feel happy.

“But I see the improvement and looking at our last game against Spurs I see a team that is very hungry. The points were there for us in a difficult away game and that’s what I am concentrating on.”

He elaborated further in a column in the Evening Standard.

“Following the 3-2 defeat at White Hart Lane, there has been speculation about my future. I understand that will happen,” he wrote.

“I am not a newcomer to this game and neither am I stupid. I know you are judged on the table and the number of points you have.

“There is nothing I can do about that except work hard and look for us to win games.”

Things don’t get much easier for the Hammers as they visit Old Trafford at the weekend before visiting the same venue again on Wednesday in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

“We now face two matches at Old Trafford within the space of four days,” added Bilic.

“I certainly won’t look at Sunday’s League match, though, with one eye on the EFL Cup quarter-final the following Wednesday. We will go there with our strongest team this weekend and see what happens.

“As for United, they haven’t yet hit their best form but they were looking better against Arsenal last weekend and certainly looked the part last night in their Europa League clash with Feyenoord.

“They played well against Leicester, Fenerbahce and even against Burnley, they were so unlucky not to win.

“Of course, I have great respect for them and it is one of the toughest fixtures of the season but now even more, we have to concentrate on ourselves.”

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