Slaven Speaks - Manchester United
Slaven Bilic faced the media ahead of the big EFL Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United and says he would love to steer his side to the semi-final stage of the competition.
The Hammers manager also provided the latest team-news including the latest on Diafra Sakho and the hamstring injury he sustained at Old Trafford on Sunday....
Slaven, can we start by asking you the latest surrounding Diafra Sakho and how long he will be out of action?
SB: “Diafra picked up a hamstring injury and we are waiting to see how bad the injury is. He will definitely not be available for the game on Wednesday.
“We will have to wait for the results of the scan to see how many weeks we will be without him.
“It is a big blow for us because we know what he can give to us and he showed that against Tottenham and Manchester United on Sunday. I can only hope it is not going to be long.
“It is very frustrating, especially for the player who was working so hard to come back and made an impact straight away.
“To be sidelined again is awful for him, but I am sure this injury will not be like the one that forced him to miss the start of the season.”
Are you optimistic about Andy Carroll and his return to first-team action. Is there a chance he could play on Wednesday night?
SB: “We are going to see what happens today. Andy has a good recovery and has been training with us. If he progresses well and there are not any minor setbacks, he will definitely be ready for Saturday and we will make a decision about the United game after training.
“We will assess him after training to see how he is. With Andy we take it on a daily basis.”
Is there any other team-news ahead of the Cup game and how do you view the game on Wednesday night?
SB: “We are facing the same opposition and the rest of the players are good. A draw will not be enough on the night and there has to be a winner.
“The league is always the priority but this is a big game for us and the cup competitions are important for us.
“It will be a big thing to reach the semi-finals and that is why we are approaching the game in a positive way.
“I said against Chelsea we were the underdogs but we put a strong team out and beat them.
“We then got another tough draw away from home, but we have played three games there and have not lost. We could have won all of them and remain very positive.
“We will make a few changes, but it will still be a very strong team.”
How much encouragement do you take from the fact that you secured a 1-1 draw on Sunday?
SB: “I take a lot of encouragement from that and positives from the game. We had moments in the game where we played very well. We need to be brave and positive.”
Joint-Chairman David Sullivan believes the Club have turned a corner. Do you agree with him?
SB: “Every point counts and I think we have turned a corner in terms of the team performances and individual performances.
“We are still not in the position that we want to be, but when you look at the performances since the Watford, West Brom and Middlesbrough games, we are playing good football now.
“Since the international break we have not gained a lot of points, but the performances are the ones that are giving us the right to think that we are on a good path now.”
Would reaching the semi-finals set you up nicely for the next two games against Arsenal and Liverpool?
SB: “It would give us a lot of confidence if we could win the game and we will be doing everything to do that.
“If we change a few players like United will, it doesn't mean we are going there just to play a game.
“It is a quarter-final and to reach the semis is a big thing and we are just a couple of games from the final.”