West Ham United keeper Darren Randolph is still the club’s No.1 and shouldn’t be dropped by boss Slaven Bilic.

That’s according to former Hammers striker Tony Cottee, who insists Randolph should retain his place in the team despite arguably being responsible for the first goal by Leicester in their 3-2 win at the London Stadium at the weekend.

The defeat meant that Bilic’s men have now gone five games without a victory and have subsequently slipped to 12th position in the Premier League.

West Ham are next in top flight action when they go to Hull City on April 1 and some critics have suggested that Randolph be omitted from the starting eleven for the encounter.

But club legend Cottee said: “Some people are calling for Darren Randolph to be dropped and though he may have been culpable for the first goal, I still think that he is our number one. You have to base it on how many chances he stops, rather than any mistakes and I think he deserves to stay in the team.

“We need to find out why we are letting in sloppy, early goals. I don’t think you can say it is attitude, I think players go out with the best intentions, but one thing I have to say is that defending needs to start from the front. I was guilty in the past myself. I always used to think that if we had scored two goals, it is the defence’s fault that we have let in three, but that is certainly not the case.”

Not that Cottee believes it is all doom and gloom for his former club; he says he saw a creditable display from Andre Ayew in the reverse against the Foxes.

He added: “A plus was the performance of Ayew, who has been under a lot of pressure because of his big transfer fee and I have always had two questions about him. Where is the best place to play him? And is he going to get enough goals? He is certainly hitting the net now and so we just need to sort out his position.”

Of the defeat against Craig Shakespeare’s side and the games ahead, Cottee points out that with plenty of injuries looming Bilic’s men need to get the points, adding “maybe a couple of wins to get us to safety, because if in a month’s time we are still on 33 points, then panic tends to set in as teams below us win”.