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Are West Ham United right to give Slaven Bilic more time?

Wednesday 6th September 2017
Reports have emerged that the Croatian will be given more time to help turn around the clubs dreadful start to the season, however, results will be expected sooner rather than later for manager Slaven Bilic.
In the modern cutthroat business of Premier League football, West Ham co-chairman David Gold and Vice-chairman Karren Brady have shown careful restraint in resisting pressure to remove manager Slaven Bilic after a winless start to the season.

The Evening Standard has reported that Bilic met with co-owner David Sullivan following the concerning 3-0 defeat to newly promoted Newcastle, who, along with Gold and Brady,  granted the former West Ham player four more games before a decision is made on his future.

Speaking after the game, Bilic admitted that he was “worried” about his side's performance, but remained confident he was the man to turn things around, starting at home to Huddersfield on Monday.

The 48-year-old has overseen three straight defeats at the start of the season for the first time since 2010/2011 when West Ham was relegated from the top flight. The Hammers have scored just twice, conceding 10.

With the international break giving respite, Bilic has been given time to address these problems before taking on Huddersfield in what is already a must-win game.

A trip to West Brom follows, with Tottenham, and Swansea City then visiting the London Stadium.

The former Croatia boss has come under fire for failing to build on an impressive seventh place finish two years ago, with perceived tactical naivetés and a lack of squad cohesiveness highlighted by many as where things have gone wrong.

These claims have been emphasised by winger Robert Snodgrass, who said last week that Bilic didn't know where to play him after his £10.2 million move from Hull in January. Snodgrass, now on loan at Aston Villa, said that “alarm bells were ringing” when he came on for his debut and Bilic asked him whether he wanted to play on the right or left side of the pitch.

If Bilic does need more time to get his tactics right, nobody can say that he has not been backed in the transfer market to build his own team. In five windows, the club has recruited 34 players and broke their transfer record in signing striker André Ayew.

This summer saw further spending, with winger Marko Arnautovic and striker Javier Hernandez signed for a combined £36 million, along with high profile arrivals in the shape of Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart from Manchester City.

However, many fans feel the clubs defensive frailties have not been addressed properly. A long-proposed move for holding midfielder William Carvalho fell through after West Ham were not prepared to meet Sporting Lisbon's £40 million price tag, instead offering a final bid of £33 million.
Should Slaven Bilic fail to show improvement on the field, rumours are rife that Rafa Benitez is being lined-up to replace him. The Newcastle boss is openly unhappy on Tyneside following a disappointing summer of recruitment.  Benitez came close to managing West Ham in 2015, before an eleventh hour move to Real Madrid materialised.

With the risk of relegation as costly as it's ever been, nobody could blame West Ham for removing Bilic should results not turn around. Certainly, the manager would be wrong to say he's not been given all the tools to make a success of his time in West London. Any failing will fall at his feet.

Rightly or wrongly, he has been given time, and that is something that not every manager in this footballing climate is afforded.
John Howell

A graduate of Media & Cultural Studies from the University of West of England, I am a 26-year-old sports fanatic based in Bristol and an avid supporter of Newcastle United. I have written for several sites before joining It's Round and It's White and although I write primarily on the subject of football, you can catch me playing rugby on the weekends, no pun intended.

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