Slaven Speaks - Wolves

Slaven Bilic talks to the media ahead of Saturday's meeting with Wolves
West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic was in optimistic mood when he faced the media on Thursday ahead of the weekend’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
With the Hammers having now not lost in seven starts and with several players on the cusp of returns from injury, Bilic is hopeful of kick-starting cup run against the Sky Bet Championship side…
Can we just start with an injury update? First of all with Lanzini…
SB: “It’s the same injury as he had before. Hopefully a few weeks, I just spoke to him and it’s one of those injuries that you don’t really think it a big one. That’s how he reported it the first time before we played Manchester United. At training on Friday he did a normal training and took a few free-kicks. He felt it a little bit, but thought he was going to be ok for the game but was out for four weeks.
“Now it’s the same, against Southampton he came on in the second half, made a huge impact and felt nothing afterwards.  He played against Liverpool, and orchestrated it, but then felt it again – not like big, but the second time and of course we have to be cautious no matter how much we want him back.
“I’m optimistic and he’s working hard on his recovery and hopefully he will be back in two or three weeks.”
What about some of the others – are they close to coming back?
SB: “Payet is back. It’s a different type of injury because it was the ankle. That’s ok and it’s a lot easier to predict the risk with that injury – basically there is no risk unless someone kicks him in the ankle again. With the muscle it is a little bit different.
“Winston Reid has trained with us for a few days now and we’ll see how it goes for the cup game. Moses is back, not totally with us, but he is doing his stuff on the pitch and is close to being back in full training with us, apparently after the cup game.  There’s only Sakho after that, but also for him is looks like he is way ahead of the schedule, so maybe the beginning of February, but that’s all on paper.”
There have been headlines on Andy Carroll, with the window open. Could you give us the Club’s stance on it?
SB: “Not me, or the Chairmen have said [that the Club is willing to listen to offers]. We want Andy to stay, we want Andy to perform like he performed in most of the games he has played for us. Nobody has said from the Club that we want to sell him.
“He is a very popular and good player, and every time he scores a goal rumours start. You can’t stop them if you are playing well. We need him, and we need him like he has been in the last few games he has started."
Looking at Saturday’s game, Wolves are in mid-table in the Championship but have won their last three. Have you had much chance to watch them?
SB: “I’ve watched a few games and they are on a good run. They are a very compact team and very confident because they have not conceded in three games. They are hard to beat and good on the counter attack.  It’s a cup tie, and always a platform for big surprises, but of course we are approaching the FA Cup very seriously.
“We are expecting a tough game, but we are playing at home, but I am expecting us to play good and progress.”
You’ve got a good record recently too – seven unbeaten and only three conceded in that time. How important has the back four been in that?
SB: “Very important, of course. Our defence and resilience, and positive stubbornness that we’ve shown is not only the back four, but the whole team who have defended as a unit.
“The back four gets the praise for that, starting with the goalkeeper, but it was the whole team who defended and made it a little bit easier for the back four players. We showed a pattern of how we had to play, and we almost predicted what would happen when those players with flair came back, starting with Lanzini and then the same for Dimitri against Liverpool. But we kept that defensive part of the game too – that’s why we are very positive in the Club.
“On the other hand that is history, we can’t rely on that. Now we have a big game on Saturday and a big game on Tuesday. The show goes on. We have to show it every week."