- Slaven Bilic relishing Friday's Premier League fixture with Tottenham Hotspur under the London Stadium floodlights
- West Ham United manager has been impressed with title-chasing Spurs this season
- Hammers need a win to ensure their Premier League status
Slaven Bilic is expecting a ‘special’ atmosphere when Premier League title-chasers Tottenham Hotspur visit London Stadium on Friday evening.
Spurs have impressed many this season, both with their ability to win football matches and the style with which they have done so, and Maurico Pochettino’s men arrive in east London on a run of nine straight top-flight victories.
Bilic’s West Ham United will attempt to end that streak and extend their own unbeaten run to five matches in the process, with a home win ensuring the Hammers’ Premier League safety – but the manager knows that task will be far from easy.
“They are the club for me which is playing the best football,” Bilic confirmed. “Don’t get me wrong, Chelsea well deserve to be on top but Spurs are playing maybe the best football.
“Of course when you play against those kind of teams, home or away, first of all you have stay focused and compact, and concentrate throughout the whole 90 minutes and that is the key. Of course, apart from that you have to make something up front.”
“I have nothing but praise for them and I have been watching them all season and I’m thinking how did Chelsea manage to make that [four-point] gap?
“Because Tottenham has been really good throughout the whole season and then I remember that one period when they were a couple of times without Harry Kane, but this second one was not as bad as the first one.
“That first time [he was injured], they lost or drew a few games that, if you are challenging for the title you can’t afford really. Before that and after that and especially now in the last couple of months you can see their results, they are winning a lot of games.
“They are a team that is in form. OK, the last couple of away games, they won at Swansea and Palace without being that impressive, but they won games that could easily have been drawn or lost.”
You don’t need extra motivation when you play against Tottenham. I remember last season’s game at Upton Park when we beat them 1-0 it was one the most electric atmospheres
While he and his staff and players will have to plan to stop the Spurs juggernaut, Bilic knows the Hammers will be highly motivated to dictate the game on their own terms on Friday night.
Fourteen months ago, West Ham dented Tottenham’s title charge with a 1-0 win at an ‘electric’ Boleyn Ground, and the manager expects a similarly raucous atmosphere at London Stadium this time around.
“This is a big match anyway, it’s a derby whether you need the points or not,” he observed. “They need points, we need points, it’s a massive game for them and it’s a massive game for us of course. “We’ll try to get that point or points to definitely mathematically and theoretically secure our [Premier League] status.
“You don’t need extra motivation when you play against Tottenham. I remember last season’s game at Upton Park when we beat them 1-0 it was one the most electric atmospheres.
“We also played a good game against them at White Hart Lane [in November] when we were leading up until a couple of minutes to go and obviously we conceded two goals in two or three minutes, so it’s a massive one.
“It’s a big game for us, a big game for our supporters, it’s a London derby under the lights which makes it also a bit more special and we are ready for that.”