Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew says counterpart Slaven Bilic is not to blame for West Ham’s poor early-season form.
Bilic guided his side to a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season, and optimism surrounding the new campaign was high as the club moved into London Stadium.
However, with just two wins in their last 10 games and an aggregate defeat to Astra Giurgiu sending them out of the Europa League qualifying stages, the Croatian has come under considerable scrutiny in recent weeks.
But former West Ham boss Pardew, whose Palace side host the Hammers at Selhurst Park on Saturday, does not believe Bilic or the players are primarily at fault.
“The Europa League is always disruptive. I’ve been involved in that, it causes logistical issues and it’s difficult to work out,” he said.
“You can lose your way a little and maybe that’s affected West Ham. It’s certainly not a question of the manager or players’ ability.
“Moving to a new stadium can take away years of tradition – fathers taking their sons to Upton Park, et cetera. Some fans will find it difficult.
Pardew has been vocal in his support for interim England coach Gareth Southgate, who stepped up from his duties with the Under-21 side to take charge following Sam Allardyce’s departure.
England produced underwhelming performances in their World Cup qualifying matches over the past week, beating Malta 2-0 at Wembley before scraping a 0-0 draw against Slovenia in Ljubljana.
Pardew, however, believes Southgate is the right man for the job on a long-term basis.
“Gareth, in my opinion, is a great choice for England,” he said. “Now it’s about results, we live and die by results. He’s done well so far.”
And the Palace manager hopes to see some of his team’s English players get their chance at international level in the coming months.
“We’re trying to establish ourselves as a recognised Premier League club and you need that accreditation from international managers,” he said.
“Andros Townsend’s call-up was good for us and good for players like Scott Dann, Wilfried Zaha, Jason Puncheon, Joel Ward. They’ve all been playing well for us.
“If Gareth does get the job permanently he’ll know the traditions of this football club.”
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