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Sunday 18 March 2018

Slaven Bilic tells West Ham players they've run out of credit after latest loss

Slaven Bilic's West Ham have lost their last four Premier League matches
Slaven Bilic's West Ham have lost their last four Premier League matches

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic warned his under-performing players they have run out of credit following their nightmare start to the season.

Despite bringing in 11 new signings this summer, Bilic's first-choice team is still largely the one which challenged for a top-four finish last term, eventually settling for seventh to qualify for the Europa League.

However, they were knocked out of that by Romanian minnows Astra Giurgu and have since suffered their worst opening to a campaign since 2002, when they were relegated.

Sunday's 3-0 collapse at home to Southampton made it four straight defeats, in which they have conceded a total of 14 goals, and left them in the bottom three.

Bilic said: "We are not the first or the last team who has been in this situation in the Premier League and most of it is about confidence, but the club has the same players and the same manager who did good things last year.

"I told the players after we lost to West Brom that there is no need to panic, the credit was there for a lot of them. But now that credit is gone."

To rub West Ham's noses in it, the man who set Saints on their way to a fourth consecutive win was Charlie Austin, who Hammers co-owner David Sullivan once claimed he did not try to sign because of his injury record.

Austin did not look like a player who has no ligaments in his knee - as Sullivan once questioned - when he tucked in Ryan Bertrand's cut-back five minutes before half-time.

The striker then set up Dusan Tadic to hit the second just after the hour mark and substitute James Ward-Prowse added the third in stoppage time.

Austin has now scored five goals in his last four matches, and with Tottenham's Harry Kane out injured there is talk of an England call-up for the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia in a fortnight, especially given Sam Allardyce's assistant Sammy Lee was in the stands at the London Stadium.

Saints manager Claude Puel said: "I hope Charlie can get the selection.

"It's important for me and for the team that he scored with his first chance. This is a striker with confidence."

Press Association

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