Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic is staying grounded after another sensational away day elevated his team to fourth

Slaven Bilic has pledged to make sure nobody at West Ham United gets carried away despite his side’s superb start to the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season.

Saturday’s 3-1 win at fellow high-flyers Crystal Palace maintained the Hammers’ unbeaten away run and sent them fourth in the Premier League table. The result also means Bilic’s side have the best away form in the top flight, but with a visit of Champions Chelsea to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday to come, the West Ham United manager is determined to keep his squad’s feet on the ground.

“My staff and I are just trying to do a good job and the only thing that is sure is that we are not going to get carried away,” Bilic pledged. “We will continue to work hard and do our best. It’s going to be up and down of course but we are very confident.

“We are trying to make every game as important as the others. I can’t get individually in the head of my players one hundred per cent, but I really don’t think our two defeats against Leicester and Bournemouth were down to a lack of motivation.

“We made a few mistakes in the first half against those teams, who were very energetic and play on reactions, and they punished us. To be fair in both of those games we made a reaction better than Arsenal and Liverpool did against us.

“We came back from 2-0 down against Leicester to 2-1 and we had two great chances to make it 2-2. We also came back to 2-2 against Bournemouth. It wasn’t unlucky; it was just unnecessary mistakes so we have to give credit to those teams as well as that shows you what the Premier League is about.

“It doesn’t matter if you are Manchester United or someone down at the bottom, there are no guarantees that you will win. For nobody.”

Much has been made of West Ham’s incredible victories at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City so far this campaign, but Bilic felt the victory at Selhurst Park was his most proud moment to date. He explained that was not just down to the league positions of both sides going in to the game – the Eagles sat third and the Hammers sixth – but the manner in which he team performed to take their tally to 17 points after nine games.

“The wins at those clubs were historical wins, against Liverpool it was 62 years, Arsenal it was nine games without a win home and away. They are more historical wins and people are making tattoos of those results but people won’t be making tattoos of the result at Palace!

“But for me personally it is a London derby and it was the first time it was third in the league against sixth in the league. It means a lot to the fans and I like their team structure. So to go there and win in style makes me very proud.”

Andy Carroll played a key role in the victory from the bench,  joining the action with the score at 1-1 after Carl Jenkinson opened the scoring with his second goal in two games. It was Carroll’s header back across goal that teed up Manuel Lanzini to fire home the Hammers’ second before Dimitri Payet applied the gloss with a sublimely taken third.

“In the seven or eight weeks since he returned to training he has been working really hard and his shape is really good.

“He’s got something that is very hard to cope with. I played centre half and I know that position. When the ball comes in. it’s more about you than them when you try to stop it.

“Most of the strikers, you are the one that has more chance to win it. When the ball comes to Andy it is more down to him than it is to you as a defender. But it is not just that. He is skilful and he has good vision. He is a great player.

“His biggest problems were his fitness and injuries and they were connected to one another but now he has been training for eight weeks, very boring individual work but he has done it.

“We’re so happy and we’re so lucky that he’s back.”