Slaven Bilic has reminded his West Ham players they still have the threat of relegation looming over them. That has to be in the inference from Bilic’s comments ahead of the Premier League clash at Stoke City tomorrow.
The Hammers, who have gleaned five points from the past three Premier League games, are highly unlikely to go down as they sit in 14th position and are seven points clear of the drop zone.
But the West Ham manager will ask his troops to redouble their efforts all the while they can still slip through the net. And with four matches remaining of the London Stadium outfit’s season still remaining that starts tomorrow at the bet365 Stadium against Mark Hughes’ men.
Bilic admitted: “No, I don’t feel safe from relegation. Only when you are mathematically safe, you are safe. That’s the only truth. Maybe 38 points will be enough and people will say ‘what did I tell you?’ But the only proper way to think about it is mathematically.”
Boss Bilic insists there is a more confidence within the ranks after a run of three games unbeaten. He added: “Confidence is higher when you have good memories of being unbeaten. It’s related to the way you are training and the way you approach the next game.”
Indeed, the Hammers’ destiny may even fall to Swansea to decide. Paul Clement’s outfit go to Manchester United on Sunday. And if WestHham overcome the Potters and the Swans don’t taste victory at Old Trafford, top flight status is guaranteed.
But Bilic is acutely aware that Stoke, too, will be in search of victory. He added: “It’s a good gap we have of seven points, but still we need points. People talk about 38 and you’re safe, but it’s irrelevant. We have points still to play for and Stoke are the same. We want to finish as high as possible.
“We have to look over our shoulder but look up ahead too. There’s a small gap between us and mid-table, it’s a one game gap. With four games to go, we’re talking about 12 points and that’s why we have to think about both. We need to concentrate on the next game.”