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Slav: actions speak louder than words

Filed: Monday, 11th September 2017
By: Staff Writer

Slaven Bilic has backed his players to record their first Premier League win of the season tonight - as rumours persist that he is on the verge of being replaced as manager of West Ham.

In charge since the start of the 2015/16 season, Bilic retains a growndswell of support on the terraces despite West Ham's poor start to the season - even if that feeling isn't entirely shared in the Boardroom.

However the Croat has refused to let the uncertainly from above affect his preparation for tonight's home clash against Huddersfield Town - a game he says his team is "capable of winning, if we show the right quality and the right character".

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"Tonight’s game is a big one," he said. "There is no getting away from it. And I am facing up to that in the way I have always done throughout my career when in a difficult spell. Not by hiding, not by losing faith, and not pretending everything is fine.

"It is not going to be easy, we know that, but we also know that we are capable of winning the game if we show the right quality and the right character.

"I believe in my players. We have a good squad, there is no doubt about that. But we have to show it on the pitch and start winning straight away.

"It is my job to find that reaction. To prepare the team, to lead the team, and give them everything they need to perform, not only tactically but also mentally.

But once they cross that white line tonight, it is up to the players to create the atmosphere. We know the supporters will be behind us during the game as they always are, but it is up to us to give them that feeling of pride and victory."

Embed from Getty Images

Bilic has thus far overseen three consecutive league defeats - at Manchester United, Southampton and Newcastle. However he insists that the team remains in good spirits having returned from international duty in recent days.

"Normally, you are back together in training as a group a couple of days after the match and you work accordingly," he said. "If you have won everybody is happy and if you have lost, then everybody is a bit down.

"The key is that you are together, and you share the mood as a team. When there is an international break, some of the players obviously go away and, if you have lost, you have to live with that for two weeks.

"But it can be positive – some of them, like Joe Hart and Aaron Cresswell, came back in a great mood and with confidence because they gained six points with England and are a step closer to the World Cup.

"And on the plus side, the game being pushed back to this evening means that we have had those extra days with the squad together as a group, giving us time to prepare properly."

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