Slaven Bilic says West Ham will be careful with Andy Caroll after the forward made his first start since January against Leicester City.
West Ham exited the League Cup after a 2-1 extra-time defeat in that game, although the former Liverpool striker’s 63-minute outing was a key positive to emerge from the tie.
Bilic said: “Andy couldn’t do more in training. After seven months out, these things take time. We have to be patient and we don’t want to rush him.
“Having said that, he can only regain that edge by playing games, so we have to find the right balance.”
Bilic’s side have made a flying start to the Premier League campaign and sit third in the table after recording away wins over Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Next up is a home game against newly promoted Norwich City on Saturday and Bilic is keen to keep aspirations under control despite their good start after the club’s form tailed off in the second half of the 2014-15 season.
“It is too early to talk about the start,” he added. “They lost a bit of motivation at the end of last season. It happened in February but I am not thinking about that period.
“All I am thinking about now is Norwich and Sunderland, then we have the international break. It will be nice to win all games in the Premier League and that is our aim of course. That is important for every team we play.
“Norwich are a really good team. We know it will be a difficult game, they have started very well. We have watched a few games, they are full of confidence. They defend as a unit and are very solid.”