West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic hoped Friday his side could build on the momentum of their midweek dramatic comeback win over Tottenham, as they seek a needed second straight victory in a massive bottom of the table league clash against last place Crystal Palace.
In a rare week of two press conferences on his schedule, Bilic shared how his side is again almost fully fit. Only James Collins is ruled out entirely for the massive six pointer against their London rivals on Saturday, as Michail Antonio’s fitness will be determined before the match after his Friday training activity.
“I’m expecting a very tough game tomorrow,” Bilic said. “A very big game. A game of characters. A game of basic things. A physical game. A mental game. A game that will be decided with togetherness and also a bit of quality, that I know we have but also, they have. I hope we are going to use it to make a difference. But first of all, both teams will have to be very strong, mentally and physically.”
“When the new manager comes it’s better to play them straight away because everybody needs a little bit of time to get to know the players and vice versa. They beat Chelsea and it was a big boost for them, and since Chelsea they lost to Newcastle although they played good and deserved something out of that game. No defeat is good but that Cup defeat was big for them, but then there were resting most of their players.”
Bilic is fully cognizant of the importance for the Saturday crosstown contest. Despite the dramatic result at Wembley on Wednesday, a loss for West Ham to last place Palace could erase those joyous vibes and possibly end his Hammers managing career.
“Our situation determines my situation. It is a massively important game, and we have to get some points after we lost against Brighton at home. I’m totally focused on the things that I can influence and that is only the trainings, talking the players, talking to them and the game. So I’m totally focused on the game because only with that can you improve and affect those kind of rumors to change.”