Manager on Wednesday

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Manchester, Slaven Bilic reflects on a strong start to the season
Looking ahead to the Hammers’ trip to the Etihad to face table topping Manchester City, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic identified three key attributes behind the Irons’ strong start to the season.

Bilic’s men backed up their emphatic away form with a convincing 2-0 win over Newcastle United to climb to fifth in the Premier League table.

Reflecting on a dominant display, the manager surmised: “We had skill, pace and were solid. They are the three topics that are basically football, if you don’t have one of them then you are really struggling.

“But we had all three of them.  We defended very well, whether it was in their half or on the edge of our box. We had pace to run in behind them and were good in transitions, better than we have been in the first few games. Then we had the quality when we got the ball. The performance makes us proud because we totally deserved it.”

Having recorded his first home league win of his Claret and Blue managerial career, Bilic is now focusing on facing the Citizens, and trying to end their 100% winning start to the campaign.

The Croatian continued to say that while City were in clinical form, with two wins on the bounce, this weekend is a good time to face Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

“It is also a big relief because we didn’t want to lose three games at home. So it was a very good night for us.

“I wouldn’t have swapped the wins against Arsenal and Liverpool for the defeats against Leicester and Bournemouth but it’s enough.

“Our fans are happy and it is also great for confidence. Leicester and Bournemouth both deserved their wins, but we responded well, our reactions were good, much better than Liverpool’s or Arsenal’s against us.”

Since the historic win at Anfield, the Hammers further strengthened the squad with four arrivals on transfer deadline day.

So far, the one new recruit to feature, Victor Moses, instantly won over the West Ham faithful with an impressive debut.  

“Newcastle was small proof that we have done really well in the transfer window. I am happy now with the team, we are really strong and have a lot of depth. We can play various systems and change it when needed.”

Having scored a brace, Bilic could not help but sing the praises of Frenchmen Dimitri Payet.

The midfielder was in sparking form, scoring two well taken goals early on in both halves:  “I am not surprised at how well Dimitri is doing, how quickly he has settled in here.

“We have a good group of players here. I was more surprised at how quickly we signed him. He was my number one target, I said to the chairmen that and then in five days it was done. I tried to take him to Besiktas but it was impossible. He’s one of those players that not only decides the games, but he makes all the players around him better.

“He is special, that is why we are very, very happy to have him.”