Bilic has only '2 matches' to save his bacon

LONDON • West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is under even more serious pressure after Ronald Koeman's sacking by Everton on Monday, but he will hope for a fillip in today's last-16 League Cup action.

Media reports suggest that Bilic, who made his name as Croatia's national coach, has been given two matches to salvage his job, but a trip away to in-form Tottenham Hotspur is probably not the sort of challenge one would want as one of them.

Everton - who despite splashing out £140million (S$251 million) on players in the transfer window lie third bottom in the Premier League - begin life post-Koeman by travelling to champions Chelsea.

Both may have to play their first teams in a competition which usually gives league managers the chance to rest weary first-choice players.

However, for Bilic, no such luxury can be afforded in that respect and facing a Tottenham side that put Liverpool to the sword 4-1 and who firmly set aside the so-called Wembley jinx could not come at a worse time.

He is clearly feeling the weight of expectations as one poor season last term - which came close to his dismissal - has been followed by no sign of a return to the form that they showed in his first campaign, when the Hammers finished seventh in the league.

Following last week's 3-0 home defeat by Brighton, West Ham are currently 16th in the standings, level on eight points with 18th-placed Everton.

"I'm the manager and I don't want to run away from the fact that it's my responsibility, and I take full responsibility," Bilic said.

West Ham defender Jose Fonte said the players owed the fans a good performance.

"We have a game on Wednesday and we need to go and beat Spurs because we have to react, we have to bounce back," he said on the club website (

However, a poll published by The Sun yesterday revealed that only 20 per cent of West Ham fans want Bilic to stay.

Defeat by Spurs would probably not be a catastrophe for the Croat, but a loss this weekend to bottom side Crystal Palace would more than likely seal his fate and make him the fourth managerial casualty of the season.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2017, with the headline 'Bilic has only '2 matches' to save his bacon'. Print Edition | Subscribe