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West Ham’s beleagured Bilic must pay ultimate price for woeful Brighton defeat

PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 October 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton (right) and West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic on the touchline during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton (right) and West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic on the touchline during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

PA Wire/PA Images

End of the road for Hammers manager

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic on the touchline during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic on the touchline during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

It wasn’t Friday the 13th and Halloween is still a week or so away, but this London Stadium horror show was every bit as bad as anything we have seen there.

This reporter has always been a staunch supporter of West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, but there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough – and this game might well have been it.

There was terrible passing; no impetus; no tactics and worse of all there were players who looked like they couldn’t care less out there and that was totally unacceptable.

What had West Ham been working on all week in training? They seemed to play like they had big Andy Carroll in the middle. They got down the flanks and delivered high balls into the box and wondered why no-one was on the end of them.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Glenn Murray scores his side's third goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Brighton & Hove Albion's Glenn Murray scores his side's third goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

It was ridiculous, it left diminutive striker Javier Hernandez frustrated and bemused and all that has to be down to the manger and his coachin staff.

Last week at Burnley, West Ham had put in a backs-to-the-wall display that almost resulted in a win, this week there was little fight, no formation and we saw Michail Antonio, such a potent force at Turf Moor, strolling around and not wanting the ball.

There is a £23million club record signing in Marko Arnautovic who is not worth £23 on his displays this season.

There is just too much muddled thinking about this West Ham team and that, as has already been said, is down to the manager.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Glenn Murray celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Shane Duffy during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Brighton & Hove Albion's Glenn Murray celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with teammate Shane Duffy during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

“It’s a bad performance from us,” said Bilic. “The gorals killed us.

“Why did it happen? To be fair, I don’t know. It looked very good on the training ground and in the last few games we were getting players back into shape, but we didn’t look good enough.”

That is an understatement, but perhaps we are over-reacting. After all at 1-0 down, West Ham had an excellent spell of pressure and a goal there would have changed the game.

But the problem was the last pass was not good enough, the ideas and tactics were not good enough and that meant plenty of Brighton clearances and just one tame shot on target for the whole half.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic

“We tried to come back, but it’s very difficult for me to say anything clever now,” said a clearly shocked manager.

“All I can say is that it was very disappointing and frustrating and as manager, I take full responsibility.”

In the past, Bilic’s team have always bounced back and won games when they really needed to.

That could well happen again when the team travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday, but will Bilic still be there to see it?

“The board will do what they are going to do. It is their decision, but all I am saying is that we have been in the situation before and got out of it.”

They have, but surely this set of players should be head and shoulders above that? Surely these players should be good enough to be in the upper reaches of the Premier League and not dicing with the relegation zone.

“As a manager you are taking the credit, but on the other hand you are taking full responsibility for that and I don’t want to hide or get away from that.”

That is commendable, but this has happened too many times and it may be time to call it a day and let someone else have a go.

I have so much time for Bilic, but this was simply not good enough. Time may well be up for the Croatian.

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