Slaven Speaks - Everton

Ahead of the Hammers' journey to Goodison Park, the manager faced the press
Ahead of the Hammers' journey to Goodison Park tomorrow, Slaven Bilic faced the press.

During the briefing, the gaffer fielded questions on Dimitri Payet, Mark Noble and the all important team news... 

Following the announcement that Dimitri Payet has been awarded London Player of the Year, how strong a contender is he to win the PFA Player of the Year?
"First of all I would like to congratulate him for this award, it is a nice award both for him and for the team. He won it ahead of some really great players from Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Crystal Palace so it is great for him and for us that he gets this recognition. He is a player that has made such a strong impact in a short time, he is a goal scorer and he excites fans with the way he plays and so he is definitely one of the contenders. If he was awarded it in London, then he has surely got a chance."
Why do you think he is still not included in the French national squad?
"He is a great player, but it is down to the manager to pick his players. But if they already got five or six players like Dimitri in their squad then they are going to win the Euros easily. He could play in any team in the world."
And for Mark Noble, is a call up deserved ahead of the summer?
"It is hard to comment from the outside, but Mark is having a fantastic season and I haven’t seen many midfielders playing as well and being as consistent as he is. He is a leader who is playing fantastically. I feel that he and Creswell should both be selected for the squad."
What effect has the Spurs game had on the squad?
"We haven’t really been able to properly enjoy it as the games come round so quickly. Straight after the Spurs game we had to switch our focus to the game tomorrow against Everton."
Why did you say that a top four finish was unrealistic?
"It was unrealistic before the season as nobody would have bet on us to be there before the season, it is more realistic now being one point behind with ten games to go. We are looking above us, but equally there are teams queuing up just a few points behind us too."
What is the latest team news ahead of the trip to Everton?
"James Collins won’t be available which is a big loss to us as he has been marvellous both on and off the pitch this season. It is his hamstring, so unless something positive happens, he will be out for the next three games (Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea) but it looks like he could be back after the international break in time for the last games of the season.

"There were some knocks and stiffness after the Spurs game but everyone in the squad from Wednesday night apart from Ginge should be available. Victor Moses and Enner Valencia should be back for the cup game against United and Winston Reid and Joey O’Brien could make it too. James Tomkins should be fit for the Chelsea match."
With several defenders injured, how confident are you ahead of tomorrow’s game?
"On paper Everton are amazing and can be one of the best teams in the league on the pitch. They have everything and we will need to be at our best ahead of the game tomorrow. After beating Blackburn in the cup, the two teams I wanted to avoid were Chelsea and Everton.

"Lukaku is a dangerous player and is one of the best strikers in the world. He has scored six goals in six games against us. But I am confident that the players I have available to me will be able to cope with him."