- Slaven Bilic is wary of the threat posed by a ‘new’ Hull City on Saturday
- Tigers appointed a new manager and signed eight new players in January
- Bilic also backs former Hull star Robert Snodgrass to make his mark at KCOM Stadium
Slaven Bilic is wary of the threat posed by a ‘new’ Hull City on Saturday.
The Tigers brought in a new manager, 39-year-old Portuguese Marco Silva, and eight new players in January, seven of them full internationals.
Silva may have been a mystery figure to most English football fans when he arrived at the KCOM Stadium, but he has won the Portuguese Cup with Sporting Lisbon and Greek SuperLeague with Olympiacos in the past two seasons.
“They have improved points-wise, especially in the beginning when they beat Liverpool and all that,” the Hammers manager observed. “For me, they played really good with Mike Phelan, too. They played against us and I spoke to Mike after the game in my office when we won 1-0, but they played really good.
“Before, when I was preparing for that game, we watched a lot of their games and they were really playing much better and were a little bit unlucky not to get more points.
Hull play football, they like to pass the ball and the credit goes to Marco Silva, of course
“Now, they have improved even more, got some wins and got the points they expected from their home games. They play football, they like to pass the ball and the credit goes to Marco Silva, of course.
“They also changed a lot of players. They got some really good European players, internationals like the Polish international winger Kamil Grosicki and Oumar Niasse on loan from Everton. Forget about Niasse at Everton, but before he was playing really good in Russia and in Turkey.
“They got Andrea Ranocchia from Inter Milan, they got Lazar Markovic and they got Alfred N’Diaye, so it’s not a totally new team, but half of the team is new and they have a new manager.
“They came from a position where they were struggling big-time to a position where they have a chance.”
During his pre-match press conference, Bilic was also asked about the player West Ham signed from Hull just weeks after Silva’s arrival, Robert Snodgrass.
The Scot remains Hull’s top scorer and assist-maker this season. The No11 is still waiting to get off the mark in both categories in Claret and Blue, and his new manager is hopeful he will do that on his old stomping ground this weekend.
“He started really well for us and is a player that we wanted,” Bilic confirmed. “He has got everything, a great left foot, not only for set pieces but in general. He’s a creative player and the amount of running he does is very good. He runs a lot at high intensity, which is the most important one.
“Like any other player, he also needs time to adjust to the new players and the new environment. I am happy with Snoddy and he’s going to be a big asset for us.
“He is still looking for his first goal for us, but hopefully he’s going to do it on Saturday. It wouldn’t be the first time for a player who goes back and plays his first game against his old club. His game is not about scoring goals, though, he’s more about creating chances.”