> Bilic fumes at West Ham flops
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).
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. –