Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic says the Hammers’ point at Anfield on Sunday gives them the perfect platform to build on in what he calls a ‘crucial week’ for his team.

The east Londoners follow the 2-2 draw with Liverpool by taking on Burnley and Hull City at London Stadium – two games which the manager wants to use to climb up the Premier League table.

But he knows the challenge both will present will be a significant one and the boss needs the Hammers to show the same mental fortitude they displayed on Merseyside.

He explained: “I was pleased with the character shown by the team. After the loss last week, 5-1 to Arsenal, and then making a start that couldn’t be worse, we showed a great reaction.

“It’s a really great point for us, a positive situation before this crucial week for us.

“We tried to get as many points as possible from these four, on paper, very difficult fixtures and now we have Burnley and Hull at home.

“Those games will be extremely difficult in every way and we will have to show the character again, but also the quality, togetherness, patience, because they will be very mentally demanding games. We have to be ready for them.”

The boss also had praise for how his goalkeeper Darren Randolph bounced back from the error which led to Divock Origi’s leveller early in the second half, springing to his left to make a terrific stop from Jordan Henderson and preserve the visitors’ point.

He continued: “Darren is more than okay. It’s the nature of the goalkeeper’s job.  He made a mistake for the equaliser, it’s true, but before and after that he showed a great individual reaction. He was there in the moments we needed our goalkeeper.

“He showed his quality, his composure and he made a couple of great saves – that strike from Henderson was a crucial moment for us.”

The manager concluded by offering his condolences to the victims of the bombings in Istanbul this weekend – outside the stadium of his former club Besiktas, where he spent two years prior to joining the Hammers.

He said: “I’d like to dedicate this point to the people in Turkey. I was there with my staff for two years and I feel for them.

“My prayers go out to them, it is very sad what is happening in one of the best cities and one of the best countries – because of the nature of the people, being so friendly and so warm – that it’s tearing me apart what happened there.

“[I send] big condolences to the families of the victims.”