West Ham boss has no excuses for diabolical defence
17:00 19 September 2016
PA/Press Association Images
Hammers manager Slaven Bilic was as shocked as anyone after his team let in four goals for the second match running
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic came into his press conference with a strange shellshocked look on his face as if he did not believe what he had just witnessed.
Perhaps he had looked at the stats of the game. The Hammers had 70 per cent of possession; they had six corners to the Baggies’ two and they had managed an incredible away tally of 23 shots to the home side’s eight.
And yet they had been thumped 4-2, they had been 4-0 down and at times the defence resembled a shambolic rabble, without a clue on how to stop West Brom from scoring almost at will.
“It was just one of those days and we have had a few of them at the start of this season – we have got a problem,” said the boss.
“It is a difficult spell and at half time I felt embarrassed and was asking questions of myself. We made some changes and asked for a reaction, but at half time it was a very bad feeling.”
It certainly was for the fans too. At one end they were watching some delightful attacking football, while at the other it was Keystone Cops defendng of the most shambolic kind.
When Arthur Masuaku managed a ridiculous up and under when standing on the penalty spot it was more like the under-10 defending described by Alan Shearer on Match of the Day than the Premier League.
And as for the fourth goal where one wayward pass allowed West Brom Salomon Rondon to run the length of the field unhindered to set up Nacer Chadli for a tap-in.
“The fourth goal is like the one you can live with in the 94th minute if you send your keeper up,” said Bilic. “But this was the 50th minute. To concede that sort of goal sums it all up. Nobody recognised that situation and it was hard to take.”
It was just back in April that West Ham had come to West Brom and eased to a 3-0 win. Here the attack played in a similar way, carving out plenty of chances and controlling things in West Brom’s half of the field.
But the difference in just five months is that a defence with the same goalkeeper and centre backs has suddenly become a liability.
Two new full backs can’t have made that much difference, while the midfielders in front of the back four are also the same and both scored here in April, on Saturday, they offered nothing.
“At the end of the day it is my job,” said Bilic. “I can’t argue with you now because we have conceded 13 goals, but on the other hand I can’t agree that we are lacking leaders.
“Last year the same team had a few leaders on the pitch who were taking responsibility, but we are not doing it at the moment. There are no excuses.
“It is not time to panic but we have to act and solve it.”
Something seems to be seriousluy wrong at the moment. Is it second season syndrome for Slaven? Is it moving to the new stadium?
Whatever it is, it must be sorted and quickly.