Slaven Bilic column: We have to be on top of our game for 90 minutes to beat Spurs

Slaven Bilic and Edin Terzic

The West Ham United manager shares his thoughts exclusively in his weekly column for ahead of today’s mouth-watering London derby against Tottenham Hotspur…

I must start by saying thank you to everyone who supported us so magnificently on Tuesday night as we beat Bolton Wanderers to progress to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup.

To have a crowd of over 35,000 for a midweek cup tie during a month of three Premier League home matches once again shows what loyal and devoted fans we have, and that support was greatly appreciated by my players and staff.

I would also like to congratulate Sead Haksabanovic and Nathan Holland on making their debuts for the Club on Tuesday – both players deserved their opportunity on merit for the quality and progress they have shown in training recently.

Along with Declan Rice and Domingos Quina, it meant we had four young players who all did well, and it is great that we are able to give them experience of senior competitive football.

Our reward for beating Bolton is a trip to Wembley next month to face today’s visitors Tottenham Hotspur. I’m sure it will be a fantastic occasion and, of course, we hope that it isn’t the last time we visit Wembley in the competition this season!

However, our focus since Wednesday has been entirely on today’s game. The victory means that we have again trained with confidence and momentum, which is important for what will be another very tough game against Tottenham.

Of course, we have the recent memory of beating Spurs at London Stadium to look back on. It was a fantastic night, and a fantastic performance, but it will mean nothing when we kick-off today.

What is more relevant is the fact that we have now kept three clean sheets in a row, because that is the starting point for what we hope to achieve. Tottenham are a very strong team, they have quality players in every department, and we know that we have to be on top of our game for 90 minutes if we are to gain a positive result.

We are feeling confident, though. I have had some tough decisions to make with my starting line-up for this game – which is the kind of headache every manager wants. Every player knows that he must be at his highest level to keep his place, and there will be no doubt about our motivation and desire today…