Tuesday 21 January 2020

Slaven Bilic still to discover the story of West Ham's night out

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has endured a troubled start to the season
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has endured a troubled start to the season

Slaven Bilic has yet to get to the bottom of West Ham's squad night out after the recent 3-0 defeat by Southampton.

Bilic told his players to go on a bonding session on the Monday night after the game but pictures surfaced on social media the following day of striker Andy Carroll and goalkeeper Darren Randolph apparently still out, with users suggesting the pair appeared drunk.

The Hammers manager promised to launch a probe into the incident after the following weekend's clash with Middlesbrough.

But almost a fortnight after that 1-1 draw at the London Stadium, Bilic would only reveal that the internal investigation is ongoing.

"It's still not over. It is an old story and it is not very important now," he said. "It is not done yet.

"It is not easy, I can't do the investigation because it didn't happen on the pitch. I'm going to react but it isn't done and I don't think about that at the moment, I am thinking about our next game.

"I can only repeat what I said before, it was my decision. If they stepped out of the line of the rules of our club, they will be punished."

The incident only served to add to West Ham's problems following their miserable start to the season.

Just one win in seven matches has left the Hammers in the relegation zone while their move to the former Olympic Stadium has been blighted by crowd trouble and complaints from unhappy fans.

With the backdrop of unrest at their new home Bilic could be forgiven for being relieved at the prospect of an away trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.

But he insisted: "Make no mistake, we would rather play at home because there we feel the 60,000 people. Of course it is not a relief, we would like to play Palace at home on Saturday.

"The stadium is not a reason, the stadium is great. Many clubs changed stadiums and needed time to settle in, to get used to the stadium.

"It is great stadium but we have to win a few games to feel more at home."

Striker Carroll is still out with a knee injury and has been joined on the sidelines by summer signing Gokhan Tore, who will be out for five weeks with a thigh problem.

Sam Byram, Arthur Masuaku, Diafra Sakho and record-signing Andre Ayew will also miss out at Palace, but Bilic is boosted by the return of left-back Aaron Cresswell following a knee injury suffered in pre-season.

PA Media

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