West Ham aiming for fourth consecutive league win
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Upton Park boss Slaven Bilic discusses the east Londoners slump last season and needing to beat the Canaries
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic admits Andy Carroll couldn’t be doing any more than he is to convince him to start the 26-year-old against Norwich City tomorrow (Saturday).
The England forward played the first 62 minutes of the Capital One Cup clash with Leicester City on Tuesday night, before West Ham lost in extra time at the King Power Stadium.
It was his first start since January and although few would expect Carroll to start two games in such quick succession, it seems Bilic is tempted.
Carroll has made a big impact in training this week and is doing everything he can to make the team for the visit of the Canaries.
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“Andy couldn’t be working harder in training, but after seven months out, these things take time,” said Bilic.
“We have to be patient and we don’t want to rush him. Having said that, he can only regain that edge by playing games, so we have to find the right balance.”
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West Ham have found that on the road, but are still to make Upton Park a fortress this season with two defeats in their opening three league matches.
Bilic admitted beating Newcastle the last time they played at home was important and wants to follow that up with another three points.
Not many people would have predicted the Hammers would win at Manchester City last weekend, but now they have, Bilic wants them to come out on top against the Canaries too.
He said: “We’d like to win both the Man City and Norwich games, six points is obviously nicer than three.
“We won our last home match which was crucial to get that first win at Upton Park. We are going to do everything to get the victory and get four straight league successes in a row, that is our aim.”
The last time West Ham achieved that was back in the 2013/14 campaign, when they defeated Swansea City, Aston Villa, Norwich and Southampton in the month of February.
That is somewhat surprising, given the start the Upton Park club made last year in the Premier League.
Under the management of Sam Allardyce, the Hammers won three games in a row twice during the first half of the season. On both occasions, instead of earning that fourth consecutive league victory, they drew their next fixture.
Bilic will hope history doesn’t repeat itself tomorrow and discussed how West Ham fell off the pace last year.
“It’s still too early to compare. Last season there were injuries and some unlucky games,” added the Hammers boss.
“Perhaps we lost a bit of motivation. We’re not looking too far ahead, we’re thinking about September and October.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead or think about where we might finish in the table, it is too early for that.”
What Bilic would love to talk about on Saturday evening, though, is another three points. Can they get it? You wouldn’t bet against it.