Slaven Bilic backs West Ham forward Simone Zaza ahead of Manchester United clash

Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori and West Ham United's Simone Zaza battle for the ball

Everton's Ramiro Funes Mori and West Ham United's Simone Zaza battle for the ball - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Winston Reid will be suspended for Sunday’s fixture at Old Trafford, though Bilic confident team can cope

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has given his backing to underfire loan striker Simone Zaza ahead of their clash with Manchester United this weekend.

The Italian is still yet to score for the Hammers since joining in the summer and came in for more criticism after his substitute appearance in the 3-2 defeat at Tottenham last weekend.

Zaza saw an underhit effort comfortably saved by Hugo Lloris in the second half, with Hammers leading 2-1, and wasted a chance to set up a good shooting opportunity for Dimitri Payet at White Hart Lane.

But Bilic, speaking at his weekly press conference, showed his support for the player and says he will continue to select him if he believes it is the right thing to do, regardless of any particular clause in his contract that might trigger a permanent move.

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He said: “It didn’t work for him yet, but I believe in him, he’s our player. But it’s not only him, but the other players. We need him with help from his team-mates to start producing what we’re asking for.

“Simone’s got a clause, but it’s not now. But if he plays or doesn’t play, or starts or doesn’t, has nothing to do with the clause, but only to do with his performance in training or the games that he plays.”

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Defender Winston Reid will miss the trip to Old Trafford due to suspension, following his red card against Spurs, but although Bilic admitted the New Zealand international will be missed, he believes his squad can cope.

He added: “He’s been instrumental. He has played very good, not only against Spurs, but since we changed the system (to three centre-backs) and has been very good in that central role.

“But he was suspended for the game against Stoke, so we have players that we can put in that position without changing the system. We can change the system if we want, but there is no need, just because Winston isn’t playing for us.”

Bilic also hopes to have Pedro Obiang available for selection, despite a recent ankle injury

“Since Everton he played with that. He didn’t train for a couple of days but he’s back, training with us and hopefully he’s going to be okay,” he said.

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