Monday 26 September 2016

Bilic feeling Hammers heat

Published 23/08/2015 | 13:39

Slaven Bilic is feeling the pressure
Slaven Bilic is feeling the pressure

Slaven Bilic admits he is already under pressure after an indifferent start to life as West Ham boss.

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The Croatian also said he understood why supporters jeered his side off the pitch during Saturday's 4-3 loss to newly-promoted Bournemouth - their second home defeat in a week.

Starting their Premier League season with a memorable win at Arsenal remains the only real positive of Bilic's early tenure since he replaced Sam Allardyce at Upton Park in June.

He experimented with youngsters in the Europa League qualifiers and saw them come up short. Consecutive defeats to Leicester and Bournemouth plus five red cards for Hammers players have made for an uncomfortable start for Bilic.

"I am under pressure," he said after the loss to the Cherries.

"That comes with the territory and that is why I have to turn it around. We were again second-best and I don't like this situation. Playing like this we can't expect to win many games.

"I can't blame the fans (for booing). They are behind us to be fair, in the first half and the second half. But what do you expect if we are two down against a team?

"Okay, they are a good team who got promoted and to be fair it could have been worse at 2-0 down. The reactions from the fans were normal. The expectations are high anywhere you go."

As against Leicester, West Ham found themselves 2-0 down at half-time as Bournemouth ran riot in east London, with Callum Wilson scoring twice before the break.

Bilic saw his side hit back through a Mark Noble penalty and a Cheikhou Kouyate strike, only for Marc Pugh to put the visitors back in front before Wilson completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, with Carl Jenkinson sent off for pulling back Max Gradel in the box.

Modibo Maiga reduced the arrears for the 10 men but the Hammers were unable to rescue a point, with Bilic questioning whether that opening victory at London rivals Arsenal may now be having a detrimental effect on his players.

"Maybe the game against Arsenal has come into our heads," he added.

"Maybe we think we are going to do that (again) nice and easy. Or in style. But in the Premier League, against most of the clubs, you have to dig in to have a chance to get points from every game."

Whilst it was a day to forget for everyone related with West Ham, Bournemouth will always remember their first-ever Premier League victory.

And Wilson, who had never scored a professional hat-trick, was pleased to see his years of toiling in the lower leagues pay off with his maiden Premier League goals.

"I've been waiting to the opportunity to play in this league," said the former Coventry man.

"I feel like its been hard work, I've had my injuries, I've had to come back from that, make sure that I keep focused when I am on my down times but when you're at the bottom there's only one way to go and that's up.

"A bit of support from my family and hard work has got me here and hopefully I'll stay in the Premier League."

Press Association

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