Sunderland V West Ham at Stadium of Light : Match Preview

14 April 2017 10:34

Slaven Bilic has resorted to smashing furniture during 'roller coaster' season

Slaven Bilic admits West Ham's "roller coaster" season has taken its toll - on the club's furniture.

The Hammers have taken some hammerings this term and fiery boss Bilic has had to dish out some harsh half-time truths, some of which have come at a cost.

"Everything I do, whether before a game or half-time, I do it deliberately," he revealed.

"Even if I want to smash a table a little bit or whatever, I do it with a plan. Sometimes they are calm, sometimes they are less calm. But that's the way I do it. So yes, I've had my moments.

"How many tables have I got through? We have to go to IKEA!"

West Ham head to rock-bottom Sunderland on Saturday knowing victory should be enough to banish any lingering relegation fears.

The Hammers have been as high as ninth this term but a horror run of five straight defeats left them just five points above the drop zone until last weekend's win over Swansea.

"It has been a roller coaster," added Bilic. "Not a steady season, but up and down. Bad runs, good runs, and now hopefully it's time for a good run.

"We have to finish well and then, hopefully, be in a situation to look at the season and say, 'Yeah, we've been through a lot' and gain from the experience. It's a great thing for the next one."

West Ham will come up against England striker Jermain Defoe, who they tried to sign from Sunderland in January.

Bilic was desperate to land the 34-year-old in a bid to solve his side's goalscoring problems, but was given short shrift by the Black Cats.

"He was not for sale," said Bilic. "Sunderland made it very very clear that no money, no way, he had signed a contract and wants to help the club.

"Basically it was Sunderland who said no. We pushed, we tried, but as soon as they said no that was it."

West Ham will be without suspended captain Mark Noble at the Stadium of Light, while top scorer Michail Antonio has been ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury.

But former Newcastle striker Andy Carroll is expected to start on Wearside after shaking off a groin problem

Sunderland boss David Moyes is convinced Jordan Pickford has a bright future after taking to life in the Premier League even quicker than Manchester United star David de Gea.

The 23-year-old keeper has performed so well for the struggling Black Cats this season that his elevation to the senior England squad was followed this week by a nomination for the Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year award.

Pickford finds himself in exalted company alongside Tottenham pair Dele Alli and Harry Kane, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Manchester City schemer Leroy Sane and Burnley defender Michel Keane.

However, Moyes insists he would not be at all surprised if his goalkeeper landed the prize after being thrown in at the deep end and showing his quality almost from the off.

The Scot, whose relegation-battling side are 10 points adrift of safety ahead of West Ham's visit, said: "For a young goalkeeper to do that in his first year in the Premier League takes some doing.

"Even David de Gea, who came from Spain, [Sir] Alex [Ferguson] had to keep persevering with David de Gea. He had a bad year, but he kept persevering, he kept playing him and actually all the managers since have benefited from that at the time.

"I've got to to say, Jordan has gone in and nearly not made any mistakes at all - and I am saying that touching wood.

"I have been banging on all year that I think he's the best emerging young talent for me. There have been other good young talents, like Dele Alli - we have got some terrific young players.

"But if you said who was new on the scene, I think Jordan would win it hands down. I think he would have every right to win the Young Player of the Year because he has been so good."

Moyes will have central defender John O'Shea back following the death of his father Jim, but will lose midfielder Sebastian Larsson for three games after an unsuccessful appeal against the red card he received for a challenge on Ander Herrera last weekend.


Source: PAR


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