Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Margin for Error This Match Could Be Dangerous

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

No Margin for Error This Match Could Be Dangerous

Article excerpt

Byline: Slaven Bilic

THE final international break of the season is over. Beginning tomorrow, with the visit of Crystal Palace, it is the business end of the season. In some ways the break was good because our players not involved in internationals could have a few days off, go away with their families have some rest before the big push to the end. As for myself, my daughter came over from Croatia so I spent some time with her in London, which we both enjoyed greatly.

On the one hand we needed the break but on the other we wanted to keep going because of our momentum. Now it is back to work for us all and it promises to be a particularly exciting final few matches for everyone at West Ham the players, staff, the board, the fans, everyone.

Everything we have done so far has been good but we have to finish it off. There is no room at all now for mistakes or bad days.

Tomorrow's match, if I am honest, has come too soon after the break and could be dangerous. Some of the players have to travel back long distances. Enner Valencia for example, plays for Ecuador and has had to come back from South America after playing two matches, against Paraguay and Colombia. He could well feel some jet lag after returning to London and I will have to think carefully about him and others before we name the team.

As a manager it is difficult. Part of you doesn't want them to go on international duty but my point is that it is always good when a player is called up for his national team because it gives him a different dimension. It gives him more confidence, especially if he has done well.

Touch wood everyone comes back fit and, if that happens, we are in good shape for the run-in. James Tomkins (below) is back, James Collins is close and Sam Byram still has a little problem but it's not too bad.

There is a lot at stake for us, both in the Premier League and the FA Cup.

How will we cope? We have done pretty well up to now I think and I don't see that changing.

I have been asked many times in recent weeks about the pressure. My answer has always been that we are enjoying it, we can't wait for the next game. It motivates you. …

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