Ham­mered

> Bilic fumes at West Ham flops

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

SLAVEN BILIC has warned his West Ham flops they won’t be al­lowed to live off past achieve­ments af­ter Southamp­ton con­demned them to a fourth suc­ces­sive Pre­mier League de­feat.

Bilic’s side were lauded af­ter fin­ish­ing sev­enth last sea­son but just months later they are lan­guish­ing in the rel­e­ga­tion zone fol­low­ing a mis­er­able 3-0 home de­feat yes­ter­day.

West Ham have the worst de­fen­sive record in the league af­ter con­ced­ing 14 goals in their last four matches and Bilic is start­ing to lose pa­tience with a team that looked des­per­ately short of con­fi­dence against the Saints.

Threat­en­ing to axe his stars, Ham­mers boss Bilic fumed: “A player can make a mis­take but it is all of us. Th­ese are the same play­ers, at least 80% of the team was here last year.

“As a team at the mo­ment we have to be clear, ev­ery­thing that was re­ally good last year is bad this sea­son.

“We are way be­low par. We can say the sea­son has only just started, but it’s hap­pened for four games now. We have to change it, big time.

“The credit was there for a lot of them but now the credit is gone. We will pick the team purely on train­ing.”

Bilic’s rant will do lit­tle for the con­fi­dence of play­ers like Dim­itri Payet, the France mid­fielder who is cur­rently a shadow of the in­flu­en­tial fig­ure who shone so brightly last sea­son.

And, with West Ham cap­tain Mark No­ble us­ing a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view to de­scribe the de­fend­ing as “laugh­able”, Bilic was forced to con­cede his play­ers’ morale is at a low ebb.

“It’s very hard to have con­fi­dence when you are 2-0 down. It’s a chain. We had two heavy de­feats be­fore this and that started the sit­u­a­tion when we are low on con­fi­dence,” he said.

“They are train­ing hard and want to do it but it’s not hap­pen­ing.”

Bilic and his play­ers were booed off by their fum­ing fans at full-time, but the Croa­t­ian in­sisted he won’t lose faith in his abil­ity to get the team back on track.

“It’s not a good sight to see the sta­dium empty at the end. It’s very frus­trat­ing. It’s hurts,” he said.

“It’s my re­spon­si­bil­ity. It’s my team. I know how it works. I’m not run­ning away from it.

“Of course I’m ask­ing my­self ques­tions. I do that when we are win­ning also. I want to know what I can do bet­ter.

“I’m a hard worker, I’m do­ing my best and I be­lieve in my­self.

“Am I low? Of course. We lost 3-0 at home and we de­served to lose. If you ask me am I giv­ing up? I’m not.”

Af­ter a slow start un­der new French man­ager Claude Puel, Southamp­ton have now won their last four matches in all com­pe­ti­tions.

One of the keys to their re­vival has been the form of Char­lie Austin, who scored Southamp­ton’s first goal at the Lon­don Sta­dium to take his tally to five in his last four ap­pear­ances.

Puel be­lieves Austin is on the verge of play­ing him­self into con­tention for an Eng­land call-up if the striker con­tin­ues to find the back of the net.

“I hope he can find se­lec­tion for Eng­land. The an­swer is to score in ev­ery game,” Puel said.

“He can score beau­ti­ful, very nice goals. He scored with his first chance. He’s a striker with con­fi­dence, which is al­ways in­ter­est­ing.” – AFP LA LIGA: Le­ganes 1 (Szy­manowski 21) Va­len­cia 2 (Nani 33, Mario Suarez 51), Atletico Madrid 1 (Griez­mann 70) De­portivo la Coruna 0, Vil­lar­real 3 (Pato 5, Bruno 24-pen, San­sone 39) Osasuna 1 (Tor­res 45+1-pen), Es­panyol 0 Celta Vigo 2 (Rossi 90+1, Sisto 90+3).

AFPPIX

Southamp­ton’s Oriol Romeu (R) vies with West Ham United’s Simone Zaza (L) dur­ing their English Pre­mier League match at The Lon­don Sta­dium yes­ter­day. –

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