Monday 24 October 2016

Leicester's "fairytale" season overshadowing West Ham's success - Slaven Bilic

Published 15/04/2016 | 14:01

Slaven Bilic, left, comes up against Claudio Ranieri, right, again on Sunday
Slaven Bilic, left, comes up against Claudio Ranieri, right, again on Sunday

Slaven Bilic admits Leicester's "fairytale" season has put West Ham's success in the shade.

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The Hammers are still fighting for a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League with six games remaining.

But on Sunday they head to the King Power Stadium to take on a Foxes side on the verge of an incredible Premier League title, just a year after looking like certainties for relegation.

"People recognise we are having a good season, we are playing good football, and they are praising us," said Hammers boss Bilic.

"But what Leicester have done puts our successful season a little bit in the shadows.

"That's normal. It's like a fairytale and they deserve all the credit they are getting. It is unbelievable."

Leicester can move 10 points clear of Tottenham, who play at Stoke on Monday night, if they complete the double over the Hammers.

Claudio Ranieri's unlikely title favourites beat West Ham at Upton Park in the second game of the season, but back then nobody predicted they would still be leading the pack in mid-April, least of all Bilic.

"I wouldn't say then that I thought they would be in this position, no one would have said that," he added.

"But what was obvious even then was, and I said to Claudio, 'you have a team who will be extremely hard to beat'.

"But I didn't know they would be big-time favourites now to win the league. Nobody did."

West Ham need to bounce back from Wednesday night's setback, when they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United in their FA Cup quarter-final replay.

Bilic is determined not to let their season fizzle out and has challenged his side to win their final six games as they attempt to make up five points on fourth-placed Manchester City.

"Of course we are disappointed, and the players are disappointed, but we are in a great position in the league," he said.

"We have six games left and we are totally motivated, we want to finish high. It's a few weeks of our lives and we have to do everything we can."

Bilic also responded to reports in Turkey claiming Fenerbahce want to tempt him away from Upton Park in the summer.

The Croat, who previously manager Fenerbahce's rivals Besiktas, said: "I have many friends in Turkey but I'm happy here.

"When it comes to Turkey Fenerbahce are a massive club, but in Turkey there is only one club for me and that's Besiktas."

Press Association

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