West Ham sack manager Slaven Bilic

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic looks dejected during a match with Liverpool on November 4, 2017. (Action Images via Reuters)
Updated 06 November 2017

West Ham sack manager Slaven Bilic

LONDON: West Ham sacked manager Slaven Bilic on Monday after a poor run of results that have left the club languishing in the Premier League’s relegation zone.
The club announced the departure of the Croatian, appointed in June 2015, following a chastening 4-1 loss to Liverpool at the London Stadium on Saturday that leaves them 18th in the table and facing a fight for survival.
Bilic, who also played for West Ham, is the fourth Premier League managerial casualty of the season following the departures of Crystal Palace boss Frank de Boer, Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare and Everton’s Ronald Koeman.
“West Ham United can confirm that Slaven Bilic has today left his position with the club,” the Hammers said in a statement on their website.
The club hierarchy “believe a change is now necessary in order for the club to move forward positively and in line with their ambition,” the statement added.
West Ham said an announcement on a new manager is due to be made over the coming days, with former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes widely expected to replace Bilic at the London Stadium.
Bilic’s assistants Nikola Jurcevic, Edin Terzic, Julian Dicks and Miljenko Rak have also left the club with immediate effect.
Co-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan said the decision to axe Bilic had been made with “heavy hearts.”
The pair praised Bilic for his role in the move from Upton Park to the former Olympic Stadium, particularly the concluding win over Manchester United in the final home game of the 2015-16 campaign, which helped to earn a seventh-placed finish in his first season.
“During the summer, the board invested heavily signing the players Slaven believed would complete the squad he needed to push the club back toward the level we had reached in his first season, and we believe we have the players capable of doing that,” they said in a statement posted on whufc.com.
“Sadly, performances and results have not been of the expected standard and, in recent weeks, we have not seen enough indication of the required improvement to give us the encouragement that things would change and we would meet our Premier League aspirations this season.”
“We see this as an exciting opportunity to appoint a quality manager to the position to inject fresh ideas, organization and enthusiasm into a very talented squad” they added.
Speaking after the chastening defeat at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Saturday, Bilic admitted he did not know if he would be given time to turn things around.
“Of course I believe in myself,” he said. “I definitely don’t feel a broken man. I’m very strong. I believe in my dedication and my previous work. I know my value.
“On the other hand the situation for West Ham is not good. The club is above every individual and that includes me. Are we playing well? No, we are not. It’s me that has to take responsibility.”
West Ham have just two wins from 11 Premier League games, leaving them languishing above just bottom club Crystal Palace and Swansea.
The only bright spot in recent weeks was a notable victory against Tottenham at Wembley, when they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.
In his first season in charge, 2015-16, Bilic secured an impressive seventh-placed finish for West Ham, while last season they ended up in 11th spot.


Liverpool face Chelsea test as Manchester clubs enter fray

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah looked in fine form as he scored a hat trick in their match against Leeds on the opening weekend. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 September 2020

Liverpool face Chelsea test as Manchester clubs enter fray

  • Pep Guardiola has shored up his defense by signing Netherlands international Nathan Ake

LONDON: Liverpool face an early test of their Premier League title defense against Chelsea on Sunday as Manchester City and Manchester United launch their quest to be champions.

Arsenal, Everton and Leicester hope to build on encouraging opening wins while Jose Mourinho needs a morale-boosting victory for Tottenham.
AFP Sport looks at some of the main talking points ahead of the action.
Chelsea’s meeting with Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday has added edge after a feisty exchange between the managers over transfer spending.
The London club finished 33 points behind the champions last season but have splashed out around £200 million ($259 million) on new players.
By contrast, Liverpool have been relatively quiet, adding just Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas so far, with Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara likely to follow.
Jurgen Klopp pointedly said Liverpool could not spend in the same way as clubs owned by “countries” and “oligarchs” such as City and Chelsea during the coronavirus pandemic.
But Frank Lampard, who also became embroiled in a spat with Liverpool’s bench in July, pointed out the Anfield side had spent big in previous seasons as they built their title-winning side.
Liverpool will be keen to cut out the defensive errors they committed in a 4-3 win against newly promoted Leeds, but Mohamed Salah looked in fine early season form as he scored a hat trick on the opening weekend.
Chelsea were also unconvincing winners against Brighton in their opening match, but Timo Werner, who chose to join the Blues despite interest from Liverpool, did impress in winning a penalty against the Seagulls.
Manchester City are the bookmakers’ favorites to land a third Premier League trophy in four seasons but face a tough opener against Wolves.
City boss Pep Guardiola has shored up his defense by signing Netherlands international Nathan Ake and has added to his rich attacking options, landing Ferran Torres from Valencia.
City scored 102 goals last season as they finished second, but lost nine matches as they surrendered their crown to Liverpool.
Both Manchester clubs are starting a week later than other sides due to their European commitments last season.
Guardiola will be painfully aware that his team must be more consistent this campaign and he cannot afford to let Klopp’s men open up an early lead.
But he will feel nervous as he travels to face Wolves, who beat City twice last season, after a disrupted pre-season.
City duo Aymeric Laporte and Riyad Mahrez tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, while Phil Foden was sent home by England after breaking coronavirus protocols while on international duty.
The challenge facing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of a match against Crystal Palace is how to improve on last season’s third-place finish.
Midfielder Bruno Fernandes was the catalyst as United put together a long unbeaten run, with a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood providing the firepower.
But United have been relatively quiet in the transfer window, so far adding just midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax, despite persistent speculation linking them with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
“When we signed Bruno Fernandes, we knew we needed that kind of player — now we’ve signed Donny and he’s a type of player I felt we needed in the squad,” said Solskjaer.
Arsenal are buoyant after launching their season with a 3-0 win at newly promoted Fulham and tying down captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for three more years.
Mikel Arteta’s men, who host West Ham on Saturday, finished down in eighth place last season but ended their campaign on a high, winning the FA Cup for a record 14th time.
They followed that up by beating Liverpool on penalties in the season-opening Community Shield before the announcement on Aubameyang this week that fans had craved.
“I want to become an Arsenal legend just like Thierry (Henry), Wrighty (Ian Wright), (Tony) Adams and (Dennis) Bergkamp,” he said.