Manager on Monday

Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic insists West Ham United have not become a bad side overnight.

The Hammers have lost three of their first four Premier League matches and sit in the lower reaches of the table following a 4-2 home defeat by Watford on Saturday.

Manager Bilic is refusing to panic, though, and says his squad still have the qualities which helped them mount a sustained challenge for a top-four finish last season.

“We have a team that did so well last year and had leaders and pace and tactical discipline and everything,” he said.

“Now, we aren’t going to say that the same team is missing leaders and all that. We will get together, work hard and turn this situation around.

“There’s no point in talking about leadership on the pitch or moving grounds and all that, because it didn’t stop us beating Bournemouth.”

Reflecting on Saturday’s loss to the Hornets, which saw Walter Mazzarri’s side come from two goals down to win at London Stadium, Bilic said Watford’s two goals in five minutes before half-time drained the confidence from his players.

West Ham looked set to make it two home wins from two when Michail Antonio headed in a pair of Dimitri Payet crosses, only for defensive lapses to enable Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney to level things up.

Slaven Bilic with Watford manager Walter Mazzarri

With the Hammers struggling to regain their composure, Watford scored twice more through Etienne Capoue and Jose Holebas to complete what Bilic described as a ‘difficult’ afternoon.

“We had a difficult afternoon on Saturday,” he confirmed. “We started really well and had five chances in the first 20 minutes, and to be fair they had two as well. After that it was all us until the last five minutes of the first half, when they scored two goals.

“We had the game under complete control and they didn’t hurt us. We were good and created even more chances, but then from our point of view, we conceded two goals which were far too easy for them to score. I am concerned by the defending because we couldn’t cope.

“You can’t win many games in the Premier League if you defend like that.”

While Bilic conceded that conceding two quickfire goals before half-time had drained confidence from his team, he is eager that the same situation not happen again.

“Obviously the players were in shock at half-time and we tried to ease them down. OK, it was 2-2 but we still had 45 minutes, but it was because of those two goals at the end of the first half that some players lost their confidence.

“Sometimes I can understand that happening, but not on Saturday. The level of some players’ confidence depends on the scoreline – they are OK when they are 2-0 up or something but, as soon as the opponent scores a couple of goals like happened on Saturday, it drops.

“On the one hand it’s understandable, but on the other hand it can’t happen."