Slaven Bilic coy on West Ham’s European bid
PUBLISHED: 08:02 07 May 2016 | UPDATED: 08:02 07 May 2016
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Manager only focusing on Swansea test
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic insisted his players are taking it one game at a time in their end-of-season push to qualify for European football next season.
The Hammers go into today’s clash with Swansea knowing that a win would take them one step closer to assuring a place in the Europa League, while still keeping them in contention for a Champions League spot.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the West Ham boss said: “We have one game, and that is the Swansea game. We need to be totally focused on that game, not thinking about Manchester United or Stoke.
“Not thinking about the last game ever to be played at Boleyn Ground. Only Swansea. A massive game for us.”
West Ham fans, many of whom went into this season merely hoping to avoid relegation before the move into the Olympic Stadium, now face the very real prospect of finishing in the top four should they beat Manchester United in the final tie at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday.
“It’s very rarely in May that you are in that position,” said an upbeat Bilic.
“It’s great. But it’s still not the job done. Unfortunately or fortunately, it’s more about how you finish than about how you start.”
But the 47-year-old Croatian, who made 49 appearances as a player for the Hammers in the mid-nineties, would not be drawn on how he thought his squad would cope with European football next year.
“Let’s try to qualify and then hopefully we can talk about that,” he said.
Confirming a place among Europe’s elite next season would be a fantastic housewarming gift for the Olympic Stadium. But would it also give the manager, who has exceeded all expectation this season, a chance to renegotiate his contract with the club?
Bilic didn’t think so.
He said: “I have my contract. I have signed for three years. I am not like Van Gaal. I am okay. I am happy here.”
But when asked he did reveal that his current contract with the club would reward him for finishing fourth.
“A Champions League bonus? I think I have.”