Slaven, it's time to up your game

Slaven Bilic. West Ham manager and all-round fans' favourite. Let’s have a little peek into his tenure so far.

He took over in the most unique of circumstances - the last season at the Boleyn Ground, the only season in absolutely donkey's years where the main big hitters in the league were misfiring.

He also inherited a very good spine of the team from the previous manager and, for once, the board hit gold (or struck lucky) with most of our signings that slotted in nicely from the off.

At the start of the season, we had those fabulous away wins, but could they have been down to 'new manager syndrome'? Everybody giving that extra 10-20 per cent to impress?

Arsenal have only won just over half of their opening day fixtures in the Premier League era and Liverpool, they were poor for the most part of last season under Rodgers. Of course, that's not taking anything away from the results, but as enjoyable as they were, they were anomalies.

Man City away on the other hand, that was a game where everything 'clicked', however, on another day, with the bombardment they gave us in the second half, they could quite easily have won it, and it wouldn't have been a too harsh of a result if they had. Disappointing, yes, but harsh, definitely not.

Then comes the home form. The two early defeats aside, I think we raised our game a bit because of it being the final season at the ground - but that's not to say we didn't have a hell of a lot of luck along the way. (Yes, I know we also had some bad luck in the latter stages of the season, but we also had some fortuitous luck in the first half.)

A few games we played poorly, but still came away with a win - due to red cards etc. What was it, something like four games in a row where the opposition had a player sent off? I'm sure somebody will correct me.

The point I'm trying to make is, is that last season his job was made slightly easier by circumstances. This season, not so much. Poor summer signings, teething problems with the new ground - and of course, playing in an unfamiliar environment.

However - I honestly believe that we should be doing better than we are with the players we do have - and that includes the new signings. With the exception of Calleri and Fletcher, we have highly experienced players, players with top European league experience, Champions League and international experience.

These players have not all of a sudden become bad players and forgotten how to kick a ball. You generally don't get to play for some of Europe’s biggest clubs if you're completely rubbish.

We have the dreadful record of having none of our strikers scoring all season. Now it could be put down to them being absolute toilet, or it could be down to the system that we are playing and have played. Either way, I just cannot believe that all our strikers are that bad.

Unfortunately though, the longer the lack of goals carries on for, the worse it gets, confidence gets sapped, and they dwell on the ball or try to do the safe option because of the pressure.

Then, we end up in the situation we find ourselves in, where not just the strikers, but all of the players find themselves under pressure, and perhaps are trying too hard in a way, and making rash decisions and individual mistakes - like Harvard on Saturday for example.

If we was sitting comfortable and not desperate for a win, and we were relaxed in our game, would he have gone down like that, or would he have stayed on his feet and been calmer and assured? If Zaza had a bit of confidence, would he have dwelt on the ball and passed late to Payet, or would he have controlled it and rifled it home himself?

The manager's job is to bring the best out in players and build them up, man-manage and put self-belief back in to them if it's waning. At the moment, he looks like a broken man, and that must be rubbing off on the players too.

Everybody, the board, the players, the manager, all have played their part in the situation we find ourselves in - but with the players we do have, the manager could - and should - be doing better than he is doing currently.

He needs to up his game, and sharpish, because we are in a precarious position right this moment. I'm not advocating him being sacked - far from it, but as much as I cannot stand our board, I wouldn't knock them if they are putting feelers out and drawing up a shortlist.

If the time does come where we need a new manager, I'd rather us be prepared and have somebody lined up to take over straight away, rather than us be a rudderless ship for a few games where quite possibly, any incumbent manager could find himself having to do a nigh-on impossible task because we're in the mire.

Remember, this poor form isn't just this season. Man Utd aside, we've been pretty poor since towards the end of last season.

Whether he has the wherewithal to turn the slump around, the jury is still out for me - but something in my heart of hearts actually thinks he doesn't have it in him, and sadly, his days may well already be numbered after such a promising start to his tenure.

I hope not, but it's what I suspect.

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