Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic believes the Hammers will go from strength to strength as the season progresses
Slaven Bilic said the best was still to come from his West Ham side despite the Hammers’ strong start to their Premier League campaign.

After seven games, the Irons currently find themselves third in the Barclays Premier League table, having won four of their opening games.

Following their 2-2 draw with Norwich City on Saturday, the Claret and Blues will look to extend their unbeaten run to five games when they travel to play basement boys Sunderland.

Speaking ahead of the clash with the Black Cats, Bilic said: “We are third in the table, and we can still improve. Of course we can, and we know how to improve. That is the big thing for me.

“Our home games are the bread, and we’ve got four points in the last two home games but from our away games we have three wins, but it’s more than that. It’s who we beat but also how we won.”

As a result of the high-profile away wins over Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, the Croatian continued to express his belief that his side have already confounded many pre-season expectations.

“Before the season started no one said we were a big team, the away wins have already changed the perception, and the way people look at us. We are not big guns, we have some really great players but we have to work our socks off every game.

“We are going to get there, and keep improving, getting stronger as the season goes on. I think by the end of the season, we will have more home wins then away wins.”

In recent weeks, the Hammers have been boosted by the return of two key players to the first team; Adrian has excelled since returning from suspension while Andy Carroll has made a telling contribution returning from injury.

Bilic continued: “Adrian made some unbelievable saves; he’s done that in every game he’s played for us this season. He is a fantastic goalkeeper, both keepers did well today.

“I don’t want to tame Andy Carroll, he is like a boxer, he fights for everything. That is his style, and what makes him a great player. We can only protect him by easing him back in, once he’s on the pitch, that’s the way he plays, and that’s the way we want him to play.”