West Ham boss wants points and progress
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 November 2016
Bilic prepared for Manchester United double-header
Slaven Bilic will not prioritise one match over another as West Ham visit Manchester United in the Premier League today and return to Old Trafford for a league cup quarter-final on Wednesday.
The Hammers remain just above the relegaton zone on goal difference, after Hull were held to a draw by West Brom yesterday, and will be looking to bounce back from an agonising injury-time defeat at Tottenham last weekend.
And Bilic says his players will have put that 3-2 loss firmly behind them by the time they go into action at 4.30pm, saying: “It’s not the first time, we didn’t lose a cup final. We lost a game, a massively important game for us, in a really bad way, a derby.
“If you ask me in five or 10 years time I will say yes it was a big disappointment, but there were a lot of positives.
“We have trained, we lift ourselves up, we play against one of the biggest clubs, so we have no time to think about what happened a few days ago.
“We need points in the Premier League, of course, but we want to progress in the cup. Is the league more important? Yes, but we beat Chelsea in the last game in the cup.”
Michail Antonio’s sixth goal of the season had put West Ham ahead at White Hart Lane and Bilic admitted the former Nottingham Forest man is proving a real handful for Premier League defences and will no doubt be closely watched by Jose Mourinho’s United.
He added: “You have to get set-pieces in good areas, corners or free-kicks, and Michail with his record, which is quite remarkable, he’s the only they’re going to probably try and mark.
“But it’s hard to mark when some of his goals are genuine headers and you can blame the player who should have marked him, but against Spurs, it was after the corner when the players are normally, with movement, he is in the right place at the right time, it’s hard to mark him.”
Manuel Lanzini’s penalty restoring West Ham’s lead against Spurs, after Harry Winks levelled early in the second half, but Harry Kane’s late double sent the Hammers away empty-handed.
And Bilic revealed he might have a big England striker of his own available to play some sort of role at Old Trafford, with Andy Carroll having trained with the first team this week.
“He’s training with us. He came back after a long injury and we’re going to see, but he’s very close,” added Bilic.
“We’re going to see. We’re talking about his training with the team, has been this week. Is he very close? Yes, definitely.
“When he’s fit he makes an impact on a game, no matter who you play against. It’s very hard to play against him.”