Slaven Speaks - Manchester City

Ahead of the Hammers’ trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City on Saturday 19 September, West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic faced the media.

Fielding a number of questions on a range of subjects, Bilic answered questions on Dimitri Payet, the Hammers outstanding away form and his plans to stifle Manuel Pellegrini’s table topping side.

Good morning Slaven, what’s the team news for Saturday?

Pedro Obiang got a slight knock in training but it is nothing major and we will see how he is today.

I hope he is okay and I am expecting him to recover in time for Saturday. Angelo Ogbonna picked up a hamstring injury and it is going to be a week or two. It will be long enough for him to miss the next couple of games.

Are you expecting Manchester City to respond after their Champions League defeat against Juventus?

I would have loved them to beat Juventus so probably they need a response. They played okay against a Juventus team who have played in the Champions League Final.

Manchester City didn't deserve to lose the game. The minimum they deserved was a point.


Would it be an upset if West Ham win at Manchester City?

It would be a surprise of course because Manchester City have scored 11 goals in the league and have not conceded.

They are cruising in the early stages and already have a gap which is hard to get after five games.

It wouldn't be a shock as we already have two out of two away wins. We know what we need to do to have a chance.

They are the favourites of course but I am expecting us to have a good game and if that is the case we will have chances.


Did you expect to see the roller coaster of results that the Club have experienced in the first five games?

To be fair I couldn't predict that we would win against Arsenal and Liverpool and lose against Leicester and Bournemouth.

I wouldn't swap those two historic wins for the two home defeats. But you want to win at home and that is why the victory over Newcastle was so big because we needed to get a home win.

Everyone is going to be talking about Dimitri Payet. Does it get to the point where he will become a marked man?

I don't think the other teams would not have been aware of him and they would have been trying to mark him anyway. But he is a good player.

I am not comparing him to Messi, Ronaldo or Silva, but just as an example all the managers are trying to stop them but they cannot do it as they are great players.

Dimitri is playing in a position that you have to close down no matter who players there. I think he is going to continue playing like this, especially if the team continue to help him.

We are trying to make the situations easier for him to get him in a situation where he is one against one and then he has got the quality.


With Victor Moses, Chelsea have loaned him out to different clubs. Do you think he is under-rated as a player?

He is a class player. He doesn't have that continuity in one club in the Premier League which you need to settle down.

He is a well known name here and if people say he didn't make it, it is because he is not getting the chances because the big clubs buy big players and it is hard for you to do it.

Last season he played at Stoke and he was one of their best players. He has the quality to make a difference in the Premier League. His first game was very good for us.

He had composure, linking the play and his work-rate was very good.

Tickets are still available for Saturday’s 5.30pm kick-off at the Eithad Stadium. Click here to secure your seat to watch the Barclays Premier League’s two top-scoring teams in action.