- Slaven Bilic says his 'key' role is to instill confidence in his players ahead of Saturday's visit of Swansea
- Hammers are five points above the Swans, who sit inside the Premier League relegation zone
- West Ham United lost 3-0 at Arsenal on Wednesday - their fifth straight defeat
Slaven Bilic says his 'key' role is to instill confidence in West Ham United's players to recover from defeat at Arsenal by beating Swansea City at London Stadium on Saturday.
The Hammers slipped to their fifth straight Premier League reverse on Wednesday evening, conceding three second-half goals to go down 3-0 at Arsenal.
Bilic’s side defended well in the opening 45 minutes and threatened to open the scoring themselves on a couple of occasions, only for strikes from Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud to leave them empty-handed.
West Ham now sit five points above 18th-place Swansea going into this weekend’s potentially vital fixture in Stratford, with a superior goal-difference, and the manager remains optimistic that his team have enough to win and climb away from the relegation zone.
“It is the key point for me to get that confidence back before Saturday,” he confirmed. “We need one win and it will change everything for us. Three points at this stage of the season are massive.
“We are looking over our shoulders, of course, and there is no point in hiding it. It’s not being negative, it’s being realistic.
“I told the guys ’OK, forget tonight, we have a few massive games in front of us’. We have a huge game in the Premier League, a very important game, against Swansea on Saturday and we will fight to keep Premier League status.
“OK, we still have a gap and all that, but we knew before tonight’s game also, and before the Hull game. We have a few defeats in a row, but we have to win games."
We need one win and it will change everything for us. Three points at this stage of the season are massive
Reflecting on Wednesday’s defeat at Emirates Stadium, Bilic felt his team played well for around 35 minutes before handing the initiative to Arsenal.
Michail Antonio had carried West Ham’s greatest threat on the counter, but he was forced off at half-time by illness, taking with it the visitors’ best chance of securing a point or better.
“We lost the game and they deserved to win, to be fair,” Bilic observed. “In the first half we did OK, not only because of them but because we were good. OK, in the last ten minutes we started to lose the ball too early in front of our box, but we defended well with numbers and were also good in the counter-attacks and had a few corners and set pieces.
“In the second half, they raised the tempo and scored a goal and they were the better team from then on. We came back and had a couple of chances but, to be fair, they were sharper than us.
“We knew when came here that we wanted to keep a clean sheet and the draw as long as possible or, even better, to score a goal, because then their fans and the team would have got a bit more nervous, but as soon as they scored their first goal they played with more freedom and deserved their win.”