Slaven Speaks - Crystal Palace
Slaven Bilic faced the media ahead of the London derby against Crystal Palace on Saturday and was asked about the latest team-news including the return of Aaron Cresswell. Bilic was also asked about the mood in the squad over the international break and the importance of moving out of the bottom three....
Slaven, what is the latest team-news ahead of the big London derby on Saturday?
SB: "A few of the players who were away on international duty are coming back today. Winston Reid is the latest one because they played in the States, he is back today and tomorrow we have a full team. "The other players who were here trained really hard over the break. "Aaron Cresswell is back. He has started training for a couple of weeks with the physio's and the fitness coaches. He has started to train with us and has had 10 days training. He looks good, sharp and will be in the squad."
How much do you put the bad results this season down to the number of injuries which have affected the squad?
SB: "I am not looking for excuses but definitely they are one of the reasons why we didn't start as we wanted to and definitely we had injuries from the pre-season and a lot of them were long term. "Now, a lot of the players are coming back and the injury list is not that big. Cresswell is already back and we are expecting a few of them to come back soon."
A lot of people have said the big move into the new Stadium has also played a part in the results. How much do you agree with that?
SB: "The stadium is not a reason, the stadium is great. Many clubs changed stadiums and needed time to settle in, get used to the stadium. It is great stadium and we have to win a few games to feel more at home. "Make no mistake, we would rather play at home because there we feel 60,000 people. Of course it is not a relief, we would like to play Palace at home on Saturday."
Dimitri Payet scored a wonder goal in your last game against Middlesbrough. How much would you love to see him repeat that against Palace on Saturday?
SB: "He had the Euros and then he was injured, then he came back and he is sharp and fit, with quality of course, and he produced that kind of magic with a goal that was amazing. "We are expecting him to continue - not to score those kind of goal, not a one-off in his case but very hard to score those goals. "In every side, you have players who you are expecting to do that. Last year it wasn't only him, there were a few players doing that stuff in the games. Dimi is one of them. That's why he was one of the best players in the Premier League last season."
Have you had time to reflect on the opening part of the season over the international break and how much has it helped the injured players like Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew move a step closer to a first-team return?
SB: "We used the international break to train a bit more with the players who were injured before the last international break. We used this couple of weeks to get them in the state that is required for the Premier League. "I am happy the way they trained and I am expecting them to be fit and good. This break gives us two weeks to the next game, the players who were really close are back training with us. "A few like Ayew, Sakho, Carroll are still not fit but are closer. The spirit in the group and the shortening of the list of injuries is giving us belief and hope and optimism before the games."
What do you make of the game against Crystal Palace on Saturday and how much would you love to repeat the 3-1 victory you had at Selhurst Park last season?
SB: "Palace didn't start well in the first three games and got one point. In the last four games they got 10 points. "Benteke gelled straight away and they probably didn't want the break as they were playing good. "We went there last season at this stage and we played very well and we won the game 3-1 so hopefully we are going to do the same, although we are expecting a very difficult game."
Finally, you will be facing James Tomkins for the first time since he left the Club during the summer. Do you have any regrets over your decision to let him leave?
SB: "I tried to explain the situation with James. I didn't want him to leave or go but last year he played many, many games for us in different positions and he was very good for our squad. "But I couldn't guarantee he would play week in week out and that is the reason he left. He didn't want to leave because he is West Ham born and bred. "He wanted guarantees basically and I couldn't give him that."
Noble - It will feel very strange against Tonks
Having played alongside one of his best mates in football for over 15 years, Mark Noble says it will be a weird feeling when he lines up against James Tomkins for the first time in a competitive game. Both players progressed through the West Ham Academy and became close friends as they made their way into the first-team and became a key part of the squad. The duo experienced a number of memorable moments together including the victory at Wembley over Blackpool back in 2012 which helped the Hammers gain promotion back into the Premier League. Tomkins made a big decision during the summer to leave the east London Club as he was not guaranteed first-team football and made the switch across London to join up with former manager Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace. The Hammers skipper says it will be an emotional day coming up against his former team-mate, but says he has to earn the bragging rights as Tomkins still lives down the road and bumps into him all the time. Noble said: "It will feel very strange on Saturday having played alongside James for so many years. "I say playing but looking after him for so many years! "I got him out of a number of situations on the pitch but I would like to put him in trouble on Saturday! "It is a shame he had to move on but that is football and it is very common for things to happen like that. "He is 27 and wanted to play regular first-team football. It is a big loss for us because it is not just how good he is on the pitch, but the impact he has around the training ground. We have to move on now and good luck to him. "He lives down the same road as me so we see each other a lot. But when we are on the pitch the main focus for me is getting the three points. "He is a great lad and we get on so well. But you have to accept these things and we need to get the win on Saturday."
Noble admits he would love to repeat the impressive 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last season, but says he would welcome any kind of victory as the team look to move away from the bottom three. Noble added: "It doesn't matter who scores or what the score is, we just want the three points. "There is always a great atmosphere at Selhurst Park with a small intense crowd. I played under Pards and Kevin Keen is now one of the coaches so it will be a good game. "It is not ideal for us to be in the bottom three but we will try our best to push up the table and get our season going."
From the Boardroom - David Gold
I am thrilled with the news that Ladies team are now being brought into the West Ham United family and this is the start of a new era. I know our fans will be excited about this move and hopefully this will help raise the profile and give our Ladies team every chance to be successful in the future. This is an opportunity that will give young women the chance to showcase their talents and give them a chance to represent the famous claret and blue. I have been a big advocator of bringing the Ladies team in-house and we have faced some issues in the past which has stopped us from doing this. But I am delighted that we have now been able to agree a deal and these are exciting times to be part of the Ladies set-up. If you want the Ladies team to compete at the highest level, they have to be associated with the football club. We are now well on the way to doing that and hopefully we will be able to challenge at the top level in the next few years.
I have always followed the Ladies game and remember watching the Ladies World Cup Final last year which was won by the United States. It was a great final and speaks volumes for how much the women's game has progressed. It would be great to see the England Women's team win the World Cup and hopefully we can have some players who can be part of the squad in years to come. The Ladies team play great football and I am just as excited watching their results as I am following the first-team because they represent our great Club. I am pleased we have now found a way to embrace it even more. You cannot have the Ladies team carrying the banner of West Ham United and not being affiliated to us. It was important to bring them into the fold. I have been to a number of games and have always enjoyed the experience and meeting up with a number of West Ham fans who like to follow all the teams. I realised how passionate the fans are for all things West Ham United. Of course this will not happen overnight and we will need some time to address all the issues and get things right, but the reward at the end of it could be something very special. I would urge all our fans to get behind the West Ham United Ladies and if you have not got any plans on Sunday, come along and support the team at Thurrock when they play Crystal Palace in the London FA Capital Cup. The extra support would be fantastic. I will certainly try and get down to see the Ladies in action in the near future and show my support.
We hope it will be a memorable weekend all-round for the football club and we can go into that game on Sundaycelebrating victory for the first-team at Selhurst Park on Saturday. I still have fond memories of the 3-1 win there last year and it would be fantastic if we could come away with a similar result. Palace are playing very well at the moment but we desperately need a victory and I want to walk into my office with my head held high on Monday! This will be the first time we are coming up against James Tomkins on Saturday and I am sure that he will get a great reception from the West Ham United fans. He came through the youth academy and was a great servant to the football club. We wish him well at Palace, but not necessarily this week! It will be a major boost for us having Aaron Cresswell back in the squad. We have missed him at the start of the season and having big players like him back in contention gives a major lift to everyone at the Club. The morale goes up with the fans going to the game and we want our top players available for selection. We know the importance of getting out the bottom three and we have every chance of doing that this weekend.
Bilic: I didn't want to lose Tomkins
Filed: Thursday, 13th October 2016
By: Staff Writer
Slaven BIlic has insisted that he didn't want to part company with James Tomkins - but claimed he had no choice. Bilic, speaking to the press this morning ahead of Saturday's trip to Tomkins' new club Crystal Palace also confirmed that the 27-year-old had no desire to leave West Ham. "I tried to explain the situation with James," he said. "I didn't want him to leave or go but last year he played many, many games for us in different positions and he was very good for our squad.
"I couldn't guarantee he would play week in week out and that is the reason he left. He didn't want to leave because he is West Ham born and bred. He wanted guarantees basically, and I couldn't give him that."
Bilic was speaking exactly one year to the day after co-owner David Sullivan dismissed reports that Tomkins would be leaving the club in the near future. When asked on 13 October last year about the Basildon-born defender, who was being linked with a move to Sam Allardyce's Sunderland, he said: "James is a West Ham United player and has four-and-a-half years left on the contract. "He loves the club. He won't be going anywhere."
West Ham face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park at 5.30pm this Saturday.
Carroll still crocked, Sakho still unavailable
Filed: Thursday, 13th October 2016
By: Staff Writer
Andy Carroll is still nowhere near returning to first team action - nearly two months after it was reported he would be sidelined for 'four to six weeks'. The perma-crocked former England international sustained his latest injury back in August during the away leg of West Ham United' Europa League qualifier against Astra Giurgiu. At the time, club doc Stijn Vandenbroucke - writing in his weekly column for whufc.com on 23 August - suggested that Carroll would "be out for 4-6 weeks". Rather more telling however was Vandenbroucke's suggestion that "one should not underestimate the mental challenge that comes with a physical injury". And nearly eight weeks later Vandenbroucke has revealed that the 27-year-old striker still has "had a few bridges to cross" before he can be considered fit enough to be considered for selection once again. "Andy Carroll is continuing his rehab following the knee injury he suffered in the UEFA Europa League tie in Romania in August," wrote Vandenbroucke. "He is working as hard as he can on the pitch and in the gym, making progress. "Andy has a few bridges to cross before he can join in first team training."
In other injury news, Carroll's fellow striker Diafra Sakho is also nowhere near making a first team return despite having been undergoing his own unique pre-season programme since the beginning of the season. And club-record signing Andre Ayew, who has played less than 45 minutes for the Hammers since moving from Swansea in a £20million switch is also expected to be out of action for at least another month. "Diafra Sakho is undertaking his own pre-season, working very hard on his fitness levels with a view to join the squad on the pitch," confirmed Vandenbroucke. "Andre is continuing his rehab and is entering the stage, a mini pre-season, where he needs to get significant fitness work under his belt in order to cope with the demands of the Premier League."
There was further bad news with confirmation that loan signing Gokhan Tore has been ruled out for between "four and six weeks", after suffering a quadricep injury during the recent international break. Meanwhile Sam Byram has undergone an operation after sustaining "a significant hamstring injury" during the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough. Finally Arthur Masuaku - who is also a month or so away from returning to first team training - is said to be "progressing well" and will have his knee brace removed early next week.
Olympic Stadium not a problem, says Bilic
Filed: Thursday, 13th October 2016
By: Staff Writer
Slaven Bilic insists that the move to the Olympic Stadium has not been a factor in West Ham United's poor start to the 2016/17 season. Despite having been dumped out of the Europa League for the second successive season by Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu and currently propping up the Premier League table, Bilic insisted that the club's new home has not been at fault. Rather more responsible, according to the the under-pressure manager, was the succession of injuries that continue to blight the club. "The stadium is not a reason, the stadium is great," he maintained when asked about the OS during this morning's pre-match press conference. "Many clubs changed stadiums and needed time to settle in, get used to the stadium.
"It is great stadium and we have to win a few games to feel more at home. "I am not looking for excuses but injuries are definitely one of the reasons why we didn't start as we wanted to. We also had injuries from pre-season and a lot of them were long term. Now a lot of the players are coming back and the injury list is not that big. "Cresswell is already back and we are expecting a few of them to come back soon. Ayew, Sakho, Carroll are still not fit but are closer. "A few of the players who were away on international duty are coming back today. Winston Reid is the latest one because they played in the States, he is back today and tomorrow we have a full team."
Mark Noble exclusive: Players care more than some fans think
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 13/10/16 4:44pm
Mark Noble insists players care more about poor form than some fans think and believes that West Ham's results will improve. West Ham have struggled for form since moving to the London Stadium in the summer from Upton Park, and sit 18th in the Premier League. In an exclusive interview with Soccer Saturday, Noble said: "A lot of fans around the country and I'm not just talking West Ham fans, think that: 'Oh footballers get paid well, so if they lose it doesn't matter, they just go home to their nice cars and houses, and it doesn't matter.' "I can assure you that isn't the case. You do care. And I can assure you the players in there care, every one of them. "But sometimes when it isn't going for you, it isn't going for you, and you need to dig in and work hard for each other and try to turn it around."
Hammers captain Noble, who has been at the club his entire career, also suggested some teams have found it easier playing at London Stadium compared to the compact surrounding of their former ground.
"As I said before we even moved into the stadium, you've got to win points, because nobody is going to give you them, and teams are going to come here now and enjoy playing here. "If you ask them if they enjoyed playing at Upton Park, they'd probably say yes for the atmosphere, but because it was an intense place, so up-close and personal, it was a tough place to go and get a point. "A lot of the time the atmosphere is fantastic, and if I'm really honest we haven't given them much to shout about for sure. "But I've always said, and I believe I can say it because I've been here since I was a kid and have supported West Ham my whole life; if you can't support West Ham through times like this then why support us at all? "I mean it was great last year, we had spells where the fans were unhappy, we lost a couple of games, but the real fans and the fans who have stuck by us all these years will stay behind us I am sure."
West Ham finished seventh last year in Slaven Bilic's first season in charge, but have struggled to match those performances this season. They go to a rejuvenated Crystal Palace on Saturday looking to return to form, and Noble says the players have aired their views about recent form, which can only be a good thing going forward. "People have spoken up and said what they feel, whether it's wrong or right it's nice to get those feelings off your chest and get on and train. "If you train 100 per cent and play 100 per cent, nobody can really have a moan at you because you've given everything. "I don't think the effort is questioned, I just think it's probably at points a lack of confidence. "I do believe it will change around. I believe we've got the characters and the players in there, and the manager especially to do that, and quality. But quality doesn't always get you points, you have to dig in together, and that's what I think we've got in the changing room."
West Ham's Aaron Cresswell back in squad for Crystal Palace trip
By Tommy Ardener
Last Updated: 13/10/16 11:52am
Aaron Cresswell will feature in West Ham's squad for the first time this season when they travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday. The 26-year-old full-back has returned to training this week - almost one month earlier than expected - after suffering a serious knee injury in pre-season. Before his injury, Cresswell had missed just one Premier League match in two seasons for the Hammers and was in contention for an England call-up.
Manager Slaven Bilic said: "Aaron Cresswell is back and looks sharp. He will be in the squad for Saturday and we will then make a decision." Fellow defender Havard Nordtveit and striker Jonathan Calleri have also returned to full training following minor injuries. However, Turkish winger Gokhan Tore will be out for up to six weeks with a quadriceps injury. West Ham's head of medical and sports science Stijn Vandenbroucke said: "Gokhan injured his quadriceps in training during the international break and is going to be out for four to six weeks." Sam Byram also suffered a significant hamstring injury in West Ham's last fixture against Middlesbrough and underwent an operation on Saturday to reduce the risk of re-injury. The pair will join record signing Andre Ayew, striker Andy Carroll and left back Arthur Masuaku on the treatment table. West Ham are 18th in the Premier League standings and will be aiming to secure a first league win since August when they travel to Selhurst Park for the London derby.
Slaven Bilic says West Ham's new home is a 'great stadium'
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 13/10/16 1:22pm
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has scoffed at the notion his side are happy to be away from home this weekend rather than playing at the London Stadium. The Hammers have endured a difficult start to the 2016/17 season and are 18th in the Premier League, with just one win from their first seven games. And life at their new home ground, the former Olympic Stadium, has been blighted by incidents of crowd trouble and the grumblings of unhappy fans. However, Bilic disagreed with the suggestion the Hammers were relieved to be playing Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. Make no mistake, we would rather play at home because there we feel the 60,000 people," said Bilic. "Of course it is not a relief, we would like to play Palace at home on Saturday. "The stadium is not a reason, the stadium is great. Many clubs changed stadiums and needed time to settle in, to get used to the stadium. "It is a great stadium but we have to win a few games to feel more at home."
Bilic also confirmed that an internal investigation into a squad night out last month remains ongoing. The Hammers boss told his players to go on a bonding session on the Monday night after the 3-0 loss at home to Southampton and pictures then surfaced on social media of striker Andy Carroll and goalkeeper Darren Randolph apparently still out, with users suggesting the pair appeared drunk. Blic subsequently promised an investigation but revealed on Thursday that there was nothing yet to report."It's still not over," he said. "It is an old story and it is not very important now. "It is not done yet. It is not easy, I can't do the investigation because it didn't happen on the pitch. "I'm going to react but it isn't done and I don't think about that at the moment, I am thinking about our next game. "I can only repeat what I said before, it was my decision. If they stepped out of the line of the rules of our club, they will be punished."
Has Man United target Reece Oxford laughed off claims he's close to penning West Ham contract extension?
13:52, 13 OCT 2016 UPDATED 13:55, 13 OCT 2016
BY LIAM CORLESS
The 17-year-old has less than two years left to run on his current deal at the London Stadium and is being monitored by a host of Premier League clubs
Reece Oxford has seemingly laughed off claims he is about to commit his long-term future to West Ham. The 17-year-old, who is wanted by a host of top Premier League clubs including Manchester United, has less than two years left to run on his currently Hammers contract. Oxford tweeted earlier this week: "Been hearing some funny stuff recently." The tweet was accompanied by a laughing face emoji. There have been a number of reports in recent weeks suggesting Oxford is close to penning a new deal at the London Stadium.
Jose Mourinho's United are the frontrunners to land Oxford if he opts against signing a renewal in east London. Arsenal and Manchester City are also tracking the England Under-21 star.
Oxford made seven Premier League appearances last season, impressing in a 2-0 win at Arsenal on his top flight debut, but he's yet to play in the league so far this term.
West Ham's Aaron Cresswell available for Crystal Palace trip as Slaven Bilic refuses to blame London Stadium for poor form
KEN DYER, GIUSEPPE MURO
West Ham welcome back Aaron Cresswell for Saturday's visit to Crystal Palace. The left-back has been out since July when he tore knee ligaments in a friendly but is fit to return to a defence, which has leaked 17 goals this season — the most in the Premier League. "He's been training with us for a few weeks and he will be in the squad on Saturday," said manager Slaven Bilic. Cresswell is the only player likely to return since strikers Andy Carroll (knee) and Diafra Sakho (back) are still not ready. Bilic believes West Ham's injury toll has contributed to their poor start to the season with the club 18th in the table. "I am not looking for excuses but the injuries are definitely one reason why we didn't start like we wanted to," he said. "Some players are now coming back now, which is good news." The Croatian, however, refused to blame the problems at West Ham's London Stadium for the team's struggles. West Ham have won only one of their four League games at their new home and Bilic said: "The stadium is not the reason. The stadium is great but we will feel more at home if we win a few games. "I am very happy with the way we have trained during the international break and I am expecting a good performance from the players on Saturday. "Palace themselves didn't start well and only had one point in the first three games but since then they have picked up and probably they didn't want the international break."
Palace captain Scott Dann is set to return to the side on Saturday, having missed the past two games with a hamstring strain. The 29-year-old has been one of the most consistent defenders in the League in recent seasons and his presence will boost Palace, who are looking to extend their unbeaten run of four games. James Tomkins, who left West Ham for Palace in the summer, has partnered Damien Delaney in Dann's absence.
Aaron Cresswell set to return to West Ham side this weekend but Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew are still out
Aaron Cresswell has not featured for West Ham this season through injury
Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew are making good progress
West Ham travel to Selhurst Park to face London rivals Crystal Palace
By ADAM SHERGOLD FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 11:36, 13 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:36, 13 October 2016
West Ham will be boosted by the return of Aaron Cresswell for Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace - and long-term absentees Andy Carroll, Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew are making great strides in their comebacks. Left-back Cresswell has yet to feature this season after suffering a knee injury, while the other three have stepped up training ahead of a return to action in the coming weeks. The Hammers currently sit in the Premier League relegation zone, having taken four points from their opening seven matches, and have won just once in the league at their new London Stadium home, which has been beset by problems. But manager Slaven Bilic believes the unrest at the Hammers' new home, which has erupted into crowd trouble at each of their home games this season, will disappear when they start winning. He said: 'The stadium is not a reason [for their poor start], the stadium is great. Many clubs have changed stadiums and needed time to settle in, get used to the stadium.'We have to win a few games to feel more at home. Make no mistake, we would rather play at home [than at Selhurst Park] because there we feel the 60,000 people. Of course, it is not a relief [to be playing away]. We would like to play Palace at home on Saturday.' On the improving injury situation, Bilic added: 'During this international break, they worked hard and they've trained really hard. 'Aaron Cresswell is back, he has started training for a couple of weeks with the physios and the fitness coaches. He started to train and has had 10 days. He looks good, sharp, and will be in the squad.' Bilic, who still has half-a-dozen players on the sidelines despite Cresswell's return, believes West Ham's poor start is in part due to the bad injury situation. He said: 'I am not looking for excuses but definitely they are one of the reasons why we didn't start as we wanted to and we had the injuries from pre-season and a lot of them were long term. 'Now, a lot of the players are coming back and the injury list is not that big. Cresswell is already back and we are expecting a few of them to come back soon. 'A few like Ayew, Sakho, Carroll are still not fit but are closer. The spirit in the group and the shortening of the list of injuries is giving us belief and hope and optimism before the games.' Bilic said he has not yet completed his investigation into Andy Carroll and Darren Randolph allegedly drinking until the dawn after he granted them permission to have a meal out following the 3-0 home loss to Southampton in late September. He said: 'It is not easy, I can't do the investigation because it didn't happen on the pitch. I'm going to react but it isn't done and I don't think about that at the moment, I am thinking about the game.
'I can only repeat what I said, it was my decision. If they stepped out of the line of the rules of our club, they will be punished.'
West Ham would be 'crazy' to sack Slaven Bilic despite poor start, says Wales boss Chris Coleman
Wales manager Chris Coleman has warned West Ham that they would be "crazy" if they considered sacking Slaven Bilic after the club's calamitous start to the season. Expectations had been running high at West Ham after Bilic's first season in charge when his side challenged for Champions League football for much of the campaign and ultimately finished a creditable seventh.
That form has not been replicated in the new campaign, with the Hammers lying in the relegation zone after one win and one draw from their first seven matches of the season. West Ham have also crashed out of the Europa League, eliminated by Astra Giurgiu for the second year in a row. But Bilic should not be the one to pay the price for West Ham's current travails, according to Coleman. "If you look at Slaven he has managed big clubs, he has managed his country, he has been in tournaments. I think West Ham would be crazy to even think about going down that road," said Coleman on The Premier League Show. "He won't be surprised. People are starting to point fingers at him, where last year he was the best thing since sliced bread.
"This year they are in the bottom three, everyone is analysing everything and double analysing it. He's in the middle of that. The fingers are pointing at him but he's a strong enough character to come through that. He'll be ok…
"You can't just look at Slaven. He's the same manager that he was last year, the same way the team is the same as last year. They've got great players, they've just got to get it together, don't make any excuses and get on with the job." West Ham's move from the Boleyn Ground, their home of 112 years, to the London Stadium has not aided the club this season. A section of supporters have not failed to make clear their unhappiness over the departure from Green Street for Stratford. Coleman believes that the new stadium lacks the feel of Upton Park and will have an effect on West Ham's performance. "That old West Ham stadium when I played there, it was a special atmosphere and now it's completely different," he said. "The supporters are sitting in different areas compared to where they used to sit at the old ground."
Crystal Palace's James Tomkins: It will be weird to face West Ham
Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins admits it will be "weird" to line up against his former side West Ham at Selhurst Park this Saturday. Palace signed Tomkins, 27, on a five-year deal for £10million this summer after the defender was told he could have a reduced role at his boyhood club West Ham. Tomkins admitted his departure from the Hammers was tough, but insisted in August it was time for a new chapter in his career. The defender has since settled into Alan Pardew's side well and, ahead of the Eagles' clash with West Ham on Saturday evening, Tomkins admitted it will be "weird" to face his former club but said he is only focusing on helping Palace secure all three points. "I feel good and I think that just comes with playing more," Tomkins told the Croydon Advertiser about his form. "I have still only played two 90-minute games, so the fitness will come with that. "The more I play, the better I'll get, and I'm just trying to show what I can do. And results are going well for us. "It would have been nice if we had a game to play (last weekend), but it's just one of those things. "We can get some injured players back and up the fitness levels behind us, get more training and now we will be looking ahead to playing my old club. "It will be weird to play against them, but it's a game I'm looking forward to and a good one for us to come back in to after the break."
Slaven Bilic was today asked about Tomkins' departure from the club, which the West Ham manager admitted was a transfer he did not want to see happen. "I tried to explain the situation with James," Bilic said on Thursday. "I didn't want him to leave but I couldn't guarantee he would play every week."
West Ham United ✔ @WestHamUtd
SB: "I tried to explain situation with @TomkinsOfficial. I didn't want him to leave but I couldn't guarantee he would play every week.
10:14 AM - 13 Oct 2016
Black Stars skipper Asamoah Gyan insists relationship with Andre Ayew is cordial
Published on: 13 October 2016
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan has quashed reports that he has a vendetta with Andre Ayew over the captaincy, insisting he has a cordial relationship with his deputy. Gyan is unhappy with speculations suggesting he is in a bitter quarrel with the West Ham star due to reports making rounds that Ayew is interested in taking over the leadership role in the team. The On-loan Al Ahli player is advising the public to desist from spreading false rumors which is very likely to bring a feud between two friends who are working hard together to help the nation chalk success. ''I don't have a problem with Andre. He has been my friend way back, since he joined the national team, I have been his inspiration,'' Gyan told Joy FM ''Sometimes people try to bring this rivalry between two Stars in the team. We have seen this before in the olden days but I always try to keep things real, I don't have any problem with Ayew. 'He's a great guy, a fighter on the field and plays with his heart. He added: ''My advice t people is to stop putting this rivalry between two players who are good to each other. People should stop because when they do that, It brings conflict to the team which there is unity and will not help the team.''
West Ham trio return but Tore faces up to six weeks out
West Ham United defenders Aaron Cresswell and Havard Nordtveit, and striker Jonathan Calleri have returned to full training but Turkish winger Gokhan Tore will be out for up to six weeks with a quadriceps injury, the club said on its website. Cresswell suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season but is set to return earlier than was initially expected, while Nordtveit and Calleri are also on the mend. "Aaron Cresswell, Havard Nordtveit and Jonathan Calleri have all returned to full training," said Stijn Vandenbroucke, West Ham's head of Medical and Sports Science. "Gokhan injured his quadriceps in training during the international break and is going to be out for 4-6 weeks."
Tore will join club's record signing Andre Ayew, striker Andy Carroll and left back Arthur Masuaku on the treatment table. West Ham, who finished seventh last season, are 18th in the Premier League standings after seven matches and will be aiming to secure a first league win since August when they travel to London rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Just how has it gone so wrong for West Ham this season, and how does Slaven Bilic fix it?
BY JJ Bull
13 OCTOBER 2016 • 9:05AM
It's not even November yet, and despite his heroics last season Slaven Bilic is already under pressure at West Ham. His team sits in 18th place, having shipped 17 goals in seven games and is clearly struggling to replicate the form that made them such a force in the Premier League in 2015/16. But why?
This might sound daft, but if anything, Clive, West Ham have almost had too much possession of the ball this season. Bilic likes to win games on the counter-attack and after seven games of last season this was abundantly clear, as his team enjoyed just 42 per cent possession.
That figure suggests, and backs up, that they spent most of the time patiently waiting for their opponent to make a mistake, rather than forcing their way through a defence with short passing football.
After the same number of games played this season, they have recorded an average of 47 per cent possession. It's not a huge amount, but fine margins make the difference in the Premier League and this marks a change in playing style.
Opposition teams are far more wary of the attacking threat posed by West Ham on the counter this season and as a result, don't mind sitting back and letting them keep the ball instead. Look how deep, and how many players behind the ball West Brom had during their 4-2 win at the Hawthorns:
Having more of the ball means West Ham have to create chances against better organised defences - this is almost certainly a key reason they've only scored eight goals so far this season. West Ham were the top scorers in the entire league at this same stage of last season, with 15.
Playing on the counter-attack means taking advantage of teams in transition, when defenders are caught out of position or there's a little indecision which results in space for forwards to exploit. Different teams start the "press" in different areas to suit different systems and players - Liverpool and Tottenham press with intensity high up the pitch, while last season's West Ham liked to win the ball in their own half, launching quick counter-attacks from deep.
Here's one they tried against Middlesbrough this season, where Bilic played Michail Antonio as the centre-forward.
The counter-attack starts from a bad Middlesbrough set-piece. Dimitri Payet is furthest forward, looks up, and plays in Antonio, who has dropped back to assist in defence but will get as high up the pitch as quickly as possible.
He does this, but the rest of West Ham's attacking players are nowhere near as fast and quickly Antonio becomes isolated with zero options to pass to other than backwards. Middlesbrough have kept men back to deal with the counter-attack threat and the move fizzles out.
Even when allowed to execute a play that worked so well and so regularly last season, West Ham aren't doing it very well. That might be because of the personnel available to put on the pitch.
Summer signing Andre Ayew suffered a cruel injury on the opening game of the season, Diafra Sakho is injured too, Andy Carroll is held together by glue and rubber bands, and Simone Zaza has been mostly useless since signing on loan from Juventus.
West Ham don't have many options upfront, which is why Antonio played the centre-forward role against Middlesbrough.
Antonio is naturally a wide player though and this causes problems as West Ham end up with five creative players behind the ball but nobody looking for it in front.
Below Antonio finds himself on the left wing, even though the left-back is also there. He has five players behind him who are all staring straight at two lines of defence. Middlesbrough are organised, sat deep near their own box and are looking to either draw West Ham in and hit them on the counter or simply keep the score at 0-0.
The player in the box is the defensive midfielder. Why?
The ball is swung into the box, Kouyate can't really make use of it and the attack peters out to nothing.
Either Bilic has deliberately changed the system to try and encourage the team to keep the ball more, or opponents realise the danger West Ham possess(ed) on the counter. This is an entirely different way of playing for West Ham and means their primary source of goal scoring opportunities is gone.
Another huge loss to the team is Aaron Cresswell, who despite being a defender, had created fewer chances to score than only Payet at this same stage last season.
Quite simply, West Ham's deeply disappointing start to the season really owes to them being terrible at defending. Already a goal down from a Nacer Chadli penalty, West Ham's centre-backs gave West Brom players far too much space in the box for their second goal in a 4-2 hiding. It's a recurring theme that their defenders aren't sharp enough, out of position and the midfield doesn't offer anywhere near enough protection. Cheikhou Kouyate in particular hasn't been as effective as he was last season and the back four is suffering as a result.
Salomon Rondon should categorically not have the space here that James Collins has given him. The defensive midfielder (hidden by the referee) also needs to be closer to the centre-back to eliminate the space between midfield and defence, the centre-backs both need to push out to limit that space further, and Collins should be so close to Rondon when he receives the ball that the striker cannot spin, face the goal, and shoot. That's exactly what he does. West Ham concede an entirely avoidable goal.
In the second half, at 3-0 down, they make an effort to get back into the match and go into all-out-attack mode, briefly forgetting that you can't win games if you have literally no-one except your goalkeeper defending. You can see above that West Ham are in possession and the ball is wide left of the box. What you might not notice on first glance is that every single one of their outfield players is in the box. Every single one. The cross is headed away at the near post and suddenly the team is in trouble. That's your Rondon there, being chased by attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzini and holding midfielder Havard Nordtveidt. The defenders cannot be seen but they are just off screen, jogging back towards goal. Not working hard enough to recover from mistakes
Bizarrely, West Ham have made more interceptions than any other club in the league, making 169 compared to Burnley in second, who have made 125. They're doing something right in winning the ball back but as we've seen they are caught out on counter-attacks too easily, don't pose any real threat going forward other than the magic of Dimitri Payet and many talented players aren't maintaining their defensive discipline.
The way Middlesbrough won the corner that brought them their goal is an example of atrocious tracking back and poor organisation - West Ham aren't getting the basics right nor working hard enough to rectify these mistakes, something which must concern Bilic greatly.
Here, Adam Forshaw brings the ball out of defence after a failed West Ham attack. Three attackers stroll/jog back behind him, making no attempt to close him down whatsoever. Dimitri Payet, by the centre-circle, isn't expected to press anyone either - his job is to create, not defend.
Forshaw is able to run a good 30/40 yards in a straight line before chipping a ball over the top into the box, at which point West Ham's defence is - somehow - all over the place. Ogbonna is a centre-back playing at left-back, the right-back is nowhere to be seen, the midfield is miles away from the defence and nobody is sprinting back to help. Worse than that - they aren't in position in the first place.
West Ham have made the third lowest number of sprints per game in the league this season, at 453.4. By contrast, Liverpool (top of that particular table) have made 595 sprints per match. Does this show a lack of effort from West Ham's players? Or does it suggest that teams are sitting back and making West Ham pass the ball from side to side, thus stopping them from running?
Whatever the reason, they aren't going anywhere particularly quickly and Middlesbrough win a corner in the above example which they score from - more bad defending from a set piece.
Only a Dimitri Payet wondergoal rescued a point here and had he not decided to dribble past the entire Middlesbrough team on his own, West Ham very probably wouldn't have even managed a draw.
And there's the biggest problem of all...
A heavy dependence on Payet
It's wrong to say West Ham are a one-man team, but a disproportionate amount of their goal-scoring chances are created by Dimitri Payet. Having played in only five league games this season, he has already created 20 key chances for team-mates. The nearest to him is Mark Noble, who has created eight but has also played in all seven matches. The same was true of last season - after seven matches, Payet had created 26 chances while Aaron Cresswell was next on seven. Basically, West Ham rely on Payet far too much and if an opposition team can quiet him down and keep him out of most of the 90 minutes, it's likely that Bilic's team will find it very difficult to score.
Bilic tried to address this dependence on Payet in the summer, signing Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore - two attacking players who regularly created chances for their previous clubs. However, having too many creative, attacking forwards on the pitch leads to a lack of defensive discipline, and in trying to fix the Payet problem, West Ham have created a whole new one.
West Ham's season has been undone so far by bad injury luck, better organised opponents and what looks like a lack of defensive discipline and drive to rectify mistakes. Whether a hangover of the move to the London Stadium or a case of opponents sussing them out, West Ham are in a slump and need to change things quickly if they are to avoid a disastrous first season in their new home.
West Ham forward Andre Ayew starts 'mini pre-season' as he steps up recovery from thigh injury
West Ham forward Andre Ayew has started a "mini pre-season" as he steps up his recovery from a serious thigh injury. Ayew joined West Ham from Swansea in a deal believed to be worth more than £20m but endured a disastrous start to his Hammers career. The Ghana international was substituted just 34 minutes into his Premier League debut for Slaven Bilic's side and is not expected to be available for the first-team until late November. But Ayew's rehabilitation is on track and he is stepping up his workload to ensure he can cope with the rigorous demands of top-flight football when he returns. "Andre Ayew is continuing his rehab from the thigh injury he suffered in the opening Premier League fixture at Chelsea in August," said Stijn Vandenbroucke, Head of Medical and Sports Science. "He is entering the stage, a mini pre-season, where he needs to get significant fitness work under his belt in order to cope with the demands of the Premier League and adapt to the new biomechanics following a significant injury, basically hard work day after day."
Having spent the majority of the summer searching for a marquee striker, Ayew's injury proved to be a significant blow as fellow summer signing Simone Zaza has made a slow start to his career in English football. West Ham have struggled for form in the early stages of the campaign and are currently languishing in the relegation zone. The east Londoners have won just one of their opening seven Premier League games and need to secure a positive result when they travel to Crystal Palace this weekend to pull clear of immediate danger.
Man United boosted by Premier League youngster's dismissal: No new deal close
WEST HAM youngster Reece Oxford has snubbed suggestions he is close to agreeing a new deal, according to reports.
By JACK STAPLEHURST
PUBLISHED: 05:15, Thu, Oct 13, 2016 | UPDATED: 05:39, Thu, Oct 13, 2016
Manchester United are keeping tabs on the 17-year-old with Jose Mourinho claimed to be a big fan. A number of other top Premier League sides have also been linked with the versatile centre-back, likened to Rio Ferdinand. As a result, the Hammers have been trying to tie Oxford down to a new extended contract. Slaven Bilic was even reportedly willing to get involved in order to secure the England Under-20 international's future at the London Stadium. However, following claims Oxford was edging nearer an agreement with the east London club, the Red Devils have been handed a boost in their ongoing pursuit. The youngster tweeted alongside rolling eyes and laughing emojis on Sunday night: "Been hearing some funny stuff recently".
And according to the Daily Mail, Oxford was directly referring to talk of his supposed new deal with West Ham. His current contract expires at the end of the 2017/18 season, with few first team opportunities handed to the rising star so far this term. United are apparently in pole position to land Oxford should he leave in the coming summer, although he is reportedly relaxed over his situation.
On-loan West Ham United winger Martin Samuelsen hoping for more game time at Blackburn Rovers
MARTIN Samuelsen is hoping to be given more of a chance to show what he can do at Blackburn Rovers. The teenage winger has made two substitute appearances in the Championship and one start in the EFL Cup since signing on a season-long loan from West Ham United in August. And, before he scored his first international goal for Norway on Tuesday, Samuelsen admitted he is aiming for more time on the pitch. Rovers, who are third from bottom after losing seven of their opening 11 games, return to action at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday. And Samuelsen, speaking to Norwegian media, said: "It has been a tough start, you can say, both for the team and for me. "There has been little playing time. I wish that I could have been involved more and contribute, to score and create goals, which is something I can do, but that's it. "The coach has a lot to think about and cannot go and talk to each player. I hope the turning point comes soon because I'm sure when I get to play I'm going to show what I can do."
West Ham have the option to recall Samuelsen in January.
Chelsea frustrated over West Ham situation as fans suffer
CHELSEA are reportedly infuriated at how long their ticket allocation process is taking in the EFL Cup.
By JACK STAPLEHURST
PUBLISHED: 05:00, Thu, Oct 13, 2016
Antonio Conte's side were drawn to face cross-town rivals West Ham in the fourth round of the competition. However, the clash at the London Stadium on October 26 is facing an array of issues - mostly for the visitors. Blues fans have been unable to buy tickets yet, despite the tie being less than two weeks away. And according to the Daily Mail, Chelsea have been left feeling frustrated by the situation. Security problems and safety fears have seen West Ham willing to give the Blues less than their full allocation of seats. Up to 10 per cent of the capacity can be claimed by visitors in the cup, which would see Chelsea have 5,700 of the 57,000-seater stadium. But due to the infrastructure of the venue, West Ham are restricted to hosting only 5,200. The Football League are taking some time to approve the reduction, which is apparently expected to be granted at a meeting today. However, Chelsea fans will be left with little time to organise themselves for the fixture should they eventually pick up tickets. The draw was made three weeks ago, and West Ham supporters have been able to purchase their seats already. To avoid Chelsea fans taking tickets in the home section too, the Hammers are only selling to people who can show they've bought tickets within the past five years.
Police are still not going to be inside the ground either due to the radio signal problems, but there will be a presence outside in case of any potential trouble.
Trevor Sinclair criticises Slaven Bilic following West Ham's dismal start to Premier League campaign
West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League after seven games
They haven't won in league since beating Bournemouth in second game
Trevor Sinclair says you have to look at Slaven Bilic for their poor start
West Ham face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday evening
By JONATHAN SPENCER FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 23:53, 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 00:01, 13 October 2016
Former West Ham player Trevor Sinclair has criticised Slaven Bilic for the club's disappointing start to the new season. West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League after seven games, winning one match and losing five along the way. Speaking on The Premier League show, Sinclair believes Bilic is the man you have to point the finger at for their poor start and insists if West Ham don't start picking up points quickly, the move to the London Stadium could prove disastrous. Sinclair said: 'It's clear West Ham are not defending as well as last season. 'That needs to change but the players don't turn into bad players overnight, so who do you look at. You've got to look at the manager. '(He was) very entertaining over the summer covering the Euros, should he have been concentrating on the recruitment, which has not been great this season? 'You look at the next three games, huge games. If they don't start putting points on the board, this dream move to the London Stadium could turn into a nightmare.' Bilic worked as a pundit at Euro 2016 this summer but returned from France after the group stage. West Ham's next three league fixtures are against Crystal Palace away, Sunderland at home and Everton away. Worryingly for Hammers fans, Sinclair also stated that at the same stage last season, West Ham had covered plenty more ground. 'An interesting fact, this stage last season, West Ham were fifth in distance covered (791km), this time round they are 13th (756km). Are they as fit, are they working as hard, I'm not so sure.' Bilic will be desperate for victory against Palace on Saturday, having not won in the league since their second game of the season against Bournemouth.
Manchester United target Reece Oxford rubbishes claims that he is set to sign new deal with West Ham
Reece Oxford's current deal with West Ham runs out at end of next season
The 17-year-old laughed off speculation that he is close to signing new deal
Oxford wrote on Twitter: 'Been hearing some funny stuff recently'
The West Ham starlet has been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal
By DAVID KENT FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED: 22:17, 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 01:47, 13 October 2016
Reece Oxford has scoffed at suggestions he is close to signing a new contract at West Ham. The Hammers wonderkid has taken to social media to laugh off speculation he is likely to pen fresh terms. Having seen the reports, the 17-year-old tweeted: 'Been hearing some funny stuff recently'. And Sportsmail can reveal Oxford was directly referring to talk of a pending new deal at the London Stadium. His current deal is due to expire at the end of next season, but as Oxford has indicated, no agreement over an extension is close. Manchester United are in pole position to land the talented teenager if he decides to leave at the end of the season. But Oxford laughed off speculation and tweeted: 'Been hearing some funny stuff recently'
Arsenal and Manchester City are also interested in the central defender, who can also play in centre midfield. Initial talks over a new Hammers deal took place over the summer but the hierarchy were unable to settle the matter. Those talks have since stagnated; Oxford is understood to be relaxed about the situation even though there are no signs the impasse will be resolved anytime soon.
Jonathan Calleri return to first-team training ahead of Crystal Palace game
West Ham have received a fitness boost ahead of this weekend's trip to Crystal Palace as Aaron Cresswell, Havard Nordtveit and Jonathan Calleri have all returned to full training. The Hammers have endured a difficult start to the season and are currently languishing in the relegation zone with just four points to their name. Injuries to key players has played a part in Slaven Bilic's side's slow start but the Croatian manager could welcome back several much-needed options at Selhurst Park. Cresswell suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season but is set to return significantly earlier than his initial prognosis suggested while Nordtveit and Calleri are also on the mend. "We will start with the positive news this week, which is that Aaron Cresswell, Havard Nordtveit and Jonathan Calleri have all returned to full training," said Stijn Vandenbroucke, West Ham's Head of Medical and Sports Science. "Aaron was injured in a pre-season match with Karlsruhe in Austria in July, while Havard is back in training after undergoing a small medical procedure, while Jonathan has had a minor injury."
Cresswell's imminent return is a timely one for West Ham as Arthur Masuaku - who was signed to provide cover for the Englishman - is now set for a spell on the sidelines himself.
The French full back has suffered a knee injury but the extent of his problem will be assessed next week. "Arthur Masuaku is progressing very well after suffering a knee injury in the EFL Cup tie with Accrington Stanley. "Arthur will have the brace removed from his knee early next week, after which we will progress to the next step in his rehabilitation," he added.
Co-chairman David Gold suggested earlier this month Andy Carroll would be available for the trip to south London but the striker has not yet returned to first-team training.
Real Madrid plans prove how well West Ham have done for the Olympic Stadium
Proof that West Ham United's transformation of the Olympic Stadium into a football arena has been good value for Britain has emerged from Real Madrid. A woeful start to the season and life at their new 60,000 seater home has left morale on the pitch and in the stands at a new low. Fighting among fans and safety fears at the ground as well as a perceived lack of the famous intimidating Hammers atmosphere from Upton Park has seen the stadium switch cited by many as a reason for the club's contrast in fortunes compared to their fantastic campaign last term. Five defeats from the first seven Premier League games is the club's worst ever start to a season and Bilic's side were also unceremoniously dumped out of Europe in qualifying too. The club finds itself at the centre of a new negative story each week with the spotlight firmly fixed over East London following the move into such an iconic ground.
Fears that the huge stadium would turn into an expensive white elephant once the dust had settled on the London 2012 Olympics were seemingly allayed when the Premier League side were handed the keys to the iconic ground as anchor tenants in 2013. But legal challenges to have the decision thrown out from the likes of fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur and fellow East Londoners Leyton Orient marred the process and saw the Hammers' legitimacy to take over the running of the stadium called into question. The relatively small amount of money the Hammers had to pay towards conversion costs to make it a suitable as a football stadium has also received negative publicity. The £190 million transformation took to the total cost of the venue to £701 million - out of which the country got an Olympic Games, a Rugby World Cup, a Premier League football ground and retained its athletic and Olympic legacy. As part of the work West Ham installed an impressive cantilevered roof - which measures some 84 metres at its deepest point - and is the longest of its type in the world, covering every seat in the stadium.
Contrast that to approved plans in Spain at the mighty Real Madrid where they are set to spend an eye-watering £360m just to fit a new roof. The La Liga giants will add a retractable roof to the Santiago Bernabeu after finally reaching an agreement with the city to remodel the stadium, as reported by Sky Sports. Madrid president Florentino Perez revealed the project would cost £360m - more than half the cost of the Olympic Stadium and its subsequent transformation. It gives food for thought to critics of West Ham's move to the stadium, with whom co-owner David Sullivan is growing increasingly fed up, as reported by the club's official website.