Despite a convincing victory over Southampton at the weekend which saw the Hammers move into the top half of the table, Slaven Bilic still had to field questions from the media about his future as he responded by saying:
“Honestly, I don’t understand those questions. I’m not the manager of Chelsea or Man City so we are in a strange position that West Ham wasn’t expected to be in. I can say without being big-headed, me and my staff are doing an excellent job here, especially considering the difficulties of this season – changing of the stadium, so many injured players, some of the transfers didn’t work out, not for the players and not for us. But we are swimming in those difficulties really well.”
After a very disappointing start to the campaign, there were doubts over whether the Croatian would still be in the job, but he has retained the backing of the fans and has seen results improve of late.
That has partially been down to the decision of Jonathan Calleri to stay with the club, which he has said came after talking to a West Ham hero in the form of his former Boca Junior teammate, Carlos Tevez. Sky Sports claim that he had the opportunity to move to Spanish side Las Palmas, but a phone call from Tevez convinced him to stay as he revealed:
“I did speak to him a few months ago. When he arrived at West Ham, he was in a similar situation that I found myself in. It was hard for him and it was also hard for me. I am staying here, I want to battle, I have taken his advice on board and I want to be successful and follow in his footsteps.”
The 23-year-old has seen himself back in the first team picture as a result and was on the scoresheet in the victory over Middlesbrough at Riverside.
One man who made a poor impression and opted not to stay to turn things around was striker Simone Zaza, who left the club early and joined Valencia on loan from Juventus, and he has spoken about his spell in London by telling Gazzetta dello Sport, as cited by the Mirror and TalkSPORT:
“Once I realised that I needed to leave Juve I decided to try an adventure abroad. West Ham was one of the teams that I wanted the most. But quickly I didn’t feel great in so many ways: environment, culture, training, nutrition. I’m not being a victim, I know that plying your trade as a footballer allows you to earn so much. I’m just trying to explain the causes of my failure. I knew I’d find some difficulties, but I did not think there could be so many. I do not blame anyone: 99% of it’s my fault because I was not able to adapt.”
Zaza made his home debut for Valencia this weekend in a shocking 4-0 home defeat to minnows Eibar, and is yet to get on the scoresheet for his new side after two appearances.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Alex Hannam.