Slaven Speaks - Newcastle United

Watch Slaven Bilic's pre-Newcastle press conference here

Slaven Bilic faced the media on Friday morning ahead of Monday's visit of Newcastle United.

He answered questions on his deadline day dealings, the potential return of Andy Carroll and the threat posed by the Magpies. 

Slaven, I hear celebrations are in order. Happy birthday - how are you planning to celebrate the occasion?
SB: "The older you get the less you celebrate, apart from the big ones like 40 or 50. It's just a normal day for me. It's a birthday, of course, so my friends and family are calling, but basically an otdinary day."
There were some early birthday presents in the transfer window on the final day. How happy were you with the business you did?
SB: "Very pleased. It's all on paper of course, and now the guys who have come have to prove themselves and all that. But I think we did really well, we got what we wanted and the first week of training has been really positive.
"I think they are going to do really well for us, because they have quality, they have the energy and are very motivated. They have joined a team that is already good and they have come here to give us extra quality."
How excited are you by the return of Andy Carroll to training and is he in contention for Monday?
SB: "We've changed a bit with his rehabilitation this time. A few times before, straight after the injury when he was ok he trained for a few days with the team and then played straight away. Then, because of his stature, size and everything, especially with the brave way he plays, another injury would come.
"This time we've made six weeks of let's call it pre-season and he looks very good in training. Is he in contention? Probably.
"The one thing that I don't like now, and it's for every manager is that after the international breaks we still have some players who are going to return today or tomorrow after long trips. You still don't have your squad, but at least we are playing on Monday. That's good, because had it been tomorrow it's a problem, but if you're asking about the squad for Monday we still have to count all the players who will train together and that will be tomorrow."
Andy will be playing his former side, now managed by Steve McClaren, who you recorded one of your most famous victories for Croatia over. Do you have any sympathy for him over the fall out that followed that game?
SB: "That game wasn't Steve McClaren-Slaven Bilic, it was England-Croatia and on Monday it's West Ham-Newcastle. I had sympathy for Steve, like I have sympathy now for the Croatia coach who was sacked this week because we lost in Oslo. So many teams lost in Oslo, so I have sympathy for every coach because you lost jobs. And not only do you lose jobs but they are slaughtering you big time.
"That wasn't just a normal game, we played really well. England came back to 2-2 and then we scored again. Of course I felt sympathy because I know how it works. but then Steve recovered really well to go to Holland. Then I went to see him when Mandzukic was playing at Wolfsburg. We spent two or three hours chatting, and I know him for a long, long time because when he started as Jim Smith's assistant at Derby, my two colleagues from Croatia Stimac and Asanovic were playing there. We spoke and they were telling me he was a brilliant young coach. Then he went to Manchester United and Middlesbrough and I rate him big, big time.
"He was brave enough and had enough quality to prove himself in different leagues and now he's back in the Premier League and I'm glad for him."
You've beaten Arsenal and Liverpool away, so how important is a home win now?
SB: "It is very important. We need to win at home, or at least to get something from the game because we need to build on our great away results. We have to start picking up points at home, and I'm very confident because our reactions in the second halves of both games was good, and if we can do it from the start and cut out the silly mistakes, we will be alright."
How do you see Newcastle?
SB: "Newcastle is a team who point wise haven't started great, but if you go game-by-game, it's only against Swansea that they were second best. That was also because of a red card after they had a good spell. Against Manchester United away they were very solid and dangerous on the counter attack. Against Arsenal it's another game with a red card, so they are trying to catch us with the red cards!
"They've bought some good players in the transfer window, and have individuals who can change the game in a split second. It's going to be a difficult game, but this is the Premier League and you expect that."