Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fuming Bilic Wants Upton Spark from His Players

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fuming Bilic Wants Upton Spark from His Players

Article excerpt

Byline: Ken Dyer

AN ANGRY Slaven Bilic today challenged his West Ham team to use the emotion of their last ever game at the Boleyn Ground against Manchester United tomorrow night to put their hunt for European qualification back on course.

The 4-1 defeat by Swansea, West Ham's first loss at home in the League since August, all but ended any chance of a top-four finish and a Champions League spot but also threatened their place in the Europa League, with Southampton moving above them into sixth following their 2-1 win at Tottenham.

West Ham, who trail the Saints by a point but have a game in hand over their rivals, could now need two wins from their last two games against United and then away at Stoke on Sunday to ensure a Europa League place although qualification could go down to seventh should United win the FA Cup.

Bilic admitted he was "fuming" after Saturday's defeat by Swansea and is looking for an instant reaction from his under-performing players.

"It's important we play much better tomorrow night than we did against Swansea," he said.

"I'm not talking about the finishing product because that depends on the day or your inspiration. I'm talking about the basic things which were missing.

"Make no mistake, I'm crazy, I'm fuming, more angry than disappointed. You are disappointed when you do everything and it doesn't work out for you but we didn't do what we had to do and that makes me more angry.

"Okay, you have to give credit to Swansea but for most of the games this season that we lost, it was because we were not doing those simple, basic things. We can't afford not to do those basics in any game but especially tomorrow night against Manchester United, who have the class and quality to kill you.

"Of course the supporters are not happy when you are losing 2-0. It's hard then to keep the shape because you feel the crowd on your back and the roar which is not positive but that's everywhere. When we played West Brom away it happened to them.

"I don't think our players are thinking much about that in a negative way.

I think they will approach tomorrow night like it is a privilege to play the last game ever to be played at the Boleyn Ground. …

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