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West Ham: Midfielder slams Bilic; Zaza switch in doubt; no break for players

Just when things couldn’t seem to go any worse for the Hammers, reports in the Senegalese press have attributed quotes to Cheikou Kouyate which seem to suggest that he has criticised manager Slaven Bilic. Speaking about his manager at international level, Aliou Cisse, he said:

If you see today Kouyaté from the national team and the club in, you know it’s not the same. He found the right words to really motivate and boost us.

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Bilic is already coming under increasing pressure from bosses at West Ham and if he is losing the dressing room it could only add to his problems. Some have refused to criticise Kouyate, saying it may be a poor translation or taken out of context, but his performances of late have been far below par, much like many of his teammates.

Another man whose below par performances could cost Slaven Bilic his job is Simone Zaza, as the Daily Star that a potential salvation could be on the rocks. Valencia were said to be keen on the Italian and were prepared to take him off of West Ham and Juventus’ hands by signing him permanently in January, but the deal may be scuppered by the lack of cash available to the Spanish club meaning they can’t meet Juve’s asking price.

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Zaza’s loan deal includes a compulsory purchase option, with rumours that the fee between £17 million and £24 million will be triggered if he makes five more appearances for the club, so the Italians are unlikely to accept a deal for a fee lower than that from Valencia. The saga continues over what could go on to be one of the club’s worst ever signings.

Slaven Bilic has written in the Evening Standard to show how hard his side have been working over the international break. 13 players were away with their countries, but there was no rest for those who remained in London as Bilic said:

I know that sometimes the players have a few days off during international breaks but we trained hard for five straight days last week, Monday to Friday and then the players had the weekend off… We have trained hard because we felt that was what was needed. I have also taken the opportunity to talk individually to a few of the squad and told those players what was expected of them and why that required some hard training. I want to make it clear it was in no way a punishment but just what we needed to do at this time… I just felt that this was a moment when we needed total mobilisation and that finding the right balance between hard work and rest was the best way — the only way to get out of this situation.

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Improvements are clearly needed, and even if it was not a punishment, Bilic clearly sees hard work as the best route out of the mess that the Hammers have gotten themselves into in the early weeks of this season.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.

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