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West Ham’s embarrassing, abject surrender sums up miserable day

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 August 2017

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is dejected on the touchline during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is dejected on the touchline during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

PA Wire/PA Images

Rock-bottom West Ham didn’t do themselves any favours at Newcastle on Saturday

West Ham United's Michail Antonio (left) and Newcastle United's Henri Saivet battle for the ball during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. West Ham United's Michail Antonio (left) and Newcastle United's Henri Saivet battle for the ball during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

There was a moment in this horrible, horrible game when Javier Hernandez stared into the Newcastle sky with a look of sheer frustration on his face..

It was as if he was saying: ‘What on earth am I playing for this team?’ and after watching this shambolic, embarrassing excuse for a performance, you could see why.

After the promise of the Southampton game and the first win of the season at Cheltenham in the EFL Cup this was a chance to kick-start the league season.

Instead we saw one of the most abject displays under manager Slaven Bilic against a team who had not won and had not scored in the league this season.

Newcastle United's Mato Joselu scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. Newcastle United's Mato Joselu scores his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

West Ham couldn’t pass, they couldn’t keep hold of the ball and they were outfought, outmuscled and then swept aside by a Newcastle side that will surely struggle this season.

Manager Slaven Bilic was making no excuses, but he must take his portion of the blame for a defeat that has put his job under pressure after just three league matches.

“They were quicker, better in possession, better to the second ball and they punished our mistakes, it simply wasn’t good enough,” said the beleaguered boss.

But why? That is the question. Putting in the effort, especially away from home, is a pre-requisite, but there was too much playing it around the back-four in a lazy manner, too much first-gear play, backwards and forwards instead of trying to hurt Newcastle.

Newcastle United's Mato Joselu celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. Newcastle United's Mato Joselu celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

“The first two goals we gave them the ball in dangerous areas, but we still have to react,” said Bilic. “They were individual mistakes, but still you can make it up and it doesn’t have to be a goal, but we helped them.

“We didn’t look good, we didn’t play good and they were simply the better side.

“They deserved those goals, because they pressed high up the pitch and forced those mistakes. We gave the ball away easily, but they were on top of us and put the balls in good areas.

“They were more powerful than us, more physical and it wasn’t good.”

West Ham United's Andre Ayew lies injured during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle. West Ham United's Andre Ayew lies injured during the Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle.

There were excuses. Alan Curbishley’s frequent excuse when he was in charge was that players were getting fit in the first team and this is exactly what is happening here.

Manuel Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate and Michail Antonio are all key players who are unable to play at their best because they are not 100 per cent fit and when you are playing in the Premier League you simply cannot do that.

The excuse of playing at Cheltenham on the Wednesday is a riduclous one. Bilic changed much of the team that night and to suggest they were affected by getting to bed late that night is a laughable one for professional footballers and grown men.

The fact that West Ham have played every game away from home this season is more of a mitigating circumstance.

Away games in the Premier League are never easy and that could partly explain the tired display at St James’ Park.

The first goal was undoubtedly crucial on Saturday, it lifted a nervous home crowd, while if Hernandez had scored from a rebound at 1-0, it would have been a very different game.,

But to end up losing 3-0 was an embarrassment and the players and manager owe the fans who travelled all that way a performance in the next game worthy of the shirt.

“Nobody will get us out of this situation other than ourselves,” said Bilic. “With this international break, we will need to sort this out.

“We didn’t look good with the ball, we didn’t look good without the ball,” he concluded.

That brings to mind another classic Curbishley quote: “We are not scoring enough goals and we are letting too many in!”

It is the basics that West Ham are failing to do and if Bilic can’t find the answer soon, the board will get someone else to do it.

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