Sunday 17 December 2017

West Ham cast keen eye on Spurs' successful structure - Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic's West Ham face Tottenham on Friday night
Slaven Bilic's West Ham face Tottenham on Friday night

Slaven Bilic admits West Ham are looking up to Tottenham - and not just in the Premier League table.

Spurs visit the London Stadium on Friday night looking to maintain their title challenge against a Hammers side still not mathematically safe from relegation.

And Tottenham's steady progress over the past few years, both on the pitch and off it, means Bilic is casting an envious eye towards West Ham's London rivals.

"They are buying really good players and they built a really good team," said the Hammers boss.

"It's a good question, because we can't look at Man City or Chelsea or Man United, or watch European football every week and say 'yeah we want him'.

"We have to do it with a limited budget and Spurs have shown us - either because they were lucky or they had great scouts - that what they are doing is the way."

Spurs also have a stadium move to look forward to, and will play home games at Wembley next season before their new home is ready in 2018.

But West Ham have endured a torrid first campaign at the former Olympic Stadium, and Bilic has warned Spurs they could struggle too.

"I don't know if they will have the same problems but I wouldn't be surprised," he added.

"It is going to be very hard for them to replicate that atmosphere at White Hart Lane, where everywhere you turn you are close to the stands - and at Wembley they have already felt it this season in the Champions League.

"Although the pitch may be the same, it is a totally different perception. And the perception is the key.

"We needed a few games to get used to it. Of course victories would reduce the time, but after defeats it's hard to say it's not important. We needed a lot of time."

Bilic has faced further speculation over his future this week but knows a win over one of West Ham's arch enemies should ease some of the pressure.

"This season is not the one we wanted or that we planned, I'm not hiding from that," he admitted.

"Yet anyone linked with West Ham should know we've had many unbelievable obstacles this season. They are not excuses, they are one of the reasons why it hasn't been like last year.

"But this is a big game for us, a big game for the supporters, and we are ready for it."

Press Association

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