Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic is confident his team will respond strongly against Arsenal
Looking ahead to the Arsenal game this Saturday at the Boleyn Ground, Slaven Bilic is confident his side will respond strongly after the disappointment of drawing 2-2 with Crystal Palace.

The Hammers were 2-1 up and looking comfortable before Cheikhou Kouyate was somewhat harshly dismissed for a tackle that was deemed reckless by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Palace made full worth of the man advantage as Dwight Gayle equalised shortly afterward.

However, despite the setback, Bilic is confident in his player’s response: “What I always say to our players is if we are playing, we are playing 100%. If we are training, we will do that 100%, same with a day off, we will have fun. I don’t like to do things 50/50. So, we will continue to work the way we have been all season, I believe it has been working well for us.

“Home or away, we are never happy with a point, and I promise, we will bounce back, in training we will refocus and be ready.”

In parts, the Hammers played some exceptionally good free-flowing football, a staple of this season which has kept them in the hunt for European football.

Bilic continued: “Of course we are disappointed to draw at home. But it is done now, we can only move on and focus on next Saturday against Arsenal which is a huge game.

“I am very proud of my players because we played some very good football, we should have been further ahead than 2-1 at half-time. The game wouldn’t have been put to bed but we would have been in a much more comfortable position.”

The Hammers now face a busy period of fixtures where they face Arsenal, Manchester United Leicester City and Watford in the space of two weeks.

However, while the games are coming thick and fast, Bilic believes he has the depth of squad to deal with the fixtures pile up.

He explained: “We will not prioritise one game over another. We have a strong squad, Sam Byram and James Collins are the only two players injured, and they are both close to coming back. So we don’t need to prioritise, and we also don’t want to because we want to win every game we play.

“We can’t take any approach other than to take it each game at a time. In this league you can’t second guess anything, there’s no point. So you have to take it each game at a time, then we’ll see where that takes us.”