Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic on Dick Advocaat, extending the Hammers' unbeaten run and eradicating mistakes
Following West Ham United’s 2-2 draw away at Sunderland, manager Slaven Bilic praised his counterpart Dick Advocaat, before his resignation was announced on Sunday afternoon.

A slow start from the Hammers cost them as Steven Fletcher and Jeremain Lens gave the hosts a deserved lead. However a much improved second half performance saw the Irons rescue a point to extend their unbeaten league form to five games.

When asked about Advocaat, Bilic had nothing but praise for the experienced Dutchman: “He is a man of knowledge, and his experience at different clubs in different countries and at international level is unbelievable.

“I told him I would like to stay, you saw on the touchline he is a man full of energy and passion. The Premier League will be worse off without him.

“But it’s his decision, only he knows what he feels. For a man of his experience, he’s basically done everything in different countries, at international level. Only he knows but I rate him so much, there aren’t many managers like him.”

While the pressures of being a manager in the Premier League are evident, Bilic continued to say only those in the hot seat can truly attest to the magnitude of the job.

Despite this, four months into the job at West Ham, the Croatian said he is loving every minute. His passion was clearly detectable when he beamed: “I love the job, I love everything about it. I love training, I love boots, I love the smell of grass, all that.

“I love working with a team that is improving, matchdays, everything about football. It is the best sport by far.”

When asked if he could see himself still in management at Dick Advocaat’s sixty-eight years of age, he joked: “Who knows? I don’t think so. I don’t know if I’m going to live to 68! I’d be happy if I was alive!”

On a more serious note, Bilic vowed that his side would be concentrating especially hard over the international break to cut out the defensive errors that have hampered his side’s start to games.

Bilic said: “I wouldn’t have taken a point yesterday, but when you are 2-0 down with them having chances to score a third, you have to be happy with a point. It’s a good run for us, another away game unbeaten.

“On the other hand we can’t defend like we did in the first half, we can’t afford to make those mistakes or sloppy starts.

“We can talk about being happy with our reaction and determination, spirit and winning the second balls but we need to do that from the start. The quality doesn’t always have to be there, sometimes you have to do what is necessary. But some of the basic things we are doing wrong, I am nowhere being OK with some of our mistakes.

“I’m not only talking about some of the goals we conceded but dealing with their throw ins and long balls. 

“Mistakes happen in football; sometimes you can’t do anything about it. Tactically and physically we are fine, but hopefully we will sort out our problems in time for the Crystal Palace game.”