Tuesday 21 February 2017

Bilic sets sights on Europe

West Brom 0-3 West Ham

Nick Mashiter

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

West Ham captain Mark Noble celebrates scoring his team's third goal. Photo: Getty
West Ham captain Mark Noble celebrates scoring his team's third goal. Photo: Getty
Cheikhou Kouyate of West Ham United heads the ball to score his team's first goal. Photo: Getty
Slaven Bilic manager of West Ham United talks with his staff. Photo: Getty

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic hailed Mark Noble and insisted Europe was within his side's grasp after they hammered West Brom. The midfielder's double, after Cheikhou Kouyate's opener, gave them an impressive win at The Hawthorns to move them into fifth in the Barclays Premier League.

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"Now a European spot is a realistic target for us," Bilic said. "It wasn't at the beginning of the season, but we're not going to deny it or be big-headed.

"If we beat Swansea, our target is going to be closer for us, and then we have a game against Manchester United. That is and was our approach from the start of the season. There's no point to calculate, but we are in good form."

Noble netted his sixth and seventh goals of the season and the midfielder now has four in his last two games following a brace against Watford.

"If we are going to talk about Mark we will have to talk for a long time, not only today but the way he trains, plays and behaves since the start of the season - he is basically unbelievable," Bilic said.

The Baggies could have gone ahead after a fast start, but Craig Gardner missed three fine chances before the Hammers took control. Albion are safe but have not won in their last seven games and boss Tony Pulis, who gave a debut to 17-year-old forward Jonathan Leko, knows their misses were costly.

He said: It's so disappointing. We needed one of those early breaks to go for us. We were unlucky with their first two goals. Once a team as good as West Ham get those breaks they punish you."

"Jonathan did fantastic. The kid had raw talent. He just needs games at this level to develop."

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