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Slaven Bilic has work to do before convincing West Ham fans

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The jury's still out on West Ham coach Slaven Bilic - but what is there to say about his tenure so far?

One could say it is neither here or there, seeing as the league record currently reads: played four, lost two, won two.

Is there more to be garnered from the two brilliant wins from those historically difficult fixtures away at Arsenal and Liverpool? Or does it say more about Bilic and his side that they have lost two games at home - one to an in-form Leicester City - albeit one that was in a serious relegation battle last season - and another: a shockingly bad defeat to newly promoted Bournemouth to give the Cherries their first points of the new campaign?

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You would have to go a long way, or have to click on many a video on YouTube to find a more lacklustre defensive display than the one against Bournemouth. 

This was coupled with a pretty rotten Europa League qualifying campaign. Given the derision that frequents the response to this tournament, people will be more willing to let him off and, of course, it is too early to start wagging the finger, but it really would have made the club's last season at the Boleyn Ground that little bit more special.

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Europa League

Of course, we should not let sentiment get in the way of things, but the Europa League is still a competition, with a brilliant prize at the end of it in the form of qualification for the Champions League.

If Fulham nearly achieved the feat in 2010 by getting to the final then West Ham certainly could have done it in 2016. And what a first season in the Olympic Stadium that would have been, hosting Champions League football.

I witnessed some of the Hammers' Europa League campaign live and the attitude from some fans went from being excited at the prospect of some nights under the lights hosting an Ajax or a Borussia Dortmund to not caring about it and giving Europe's 'second rate' competition the disdain it gets from supporters of clubs such as Tottenham, who are sick of being in it year after year after year - a more understandable reaction considering they have been involved in it so much and are often tantalisingly close in the domestic league to reaching arguably the best competition in club football.

One or some of the positives that came out of the anti-climatic European campaign was the introduction of the likes of Reece Oxford, Josh Cullen and Elliot Lee. It gave them experience of competitive games in different environments and fair play to Bilic for giving them the opportunities.

West Ham pride themselves on such virtues and, seeing as the Croatian had been in the job for five minutes, one wonders whether the board had a word in his ears about doing this.

It is well documented that he was not their first choice as coach, while they have also been known to have a penchant for wanting a say in first-team matters and what individuals to bring into that mix.  

Bilic has work to do

Is there much to say? Anything to decipher from this short spell? Not that much. It is only two games, but one bad and one awful performance wasn't what the script ordered and 'passion' - a trait often attributed to Bilic in defence of the man - can only last so long.

A team's home record is often paramount to a club's survival in the Premier League and it seems extra important this season seeing as it is the last one around Upton Park.

Is the pressure of this situation getting to the players? Is it a coincidence? Whatever it is, and even if those two stunning results at Emirates Stadium and Anfield do mean more than two defeats at home to Leicester and Bournemouth, Bilic has to turn it around.

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Topics:
Football
Europa League
West Ham United
Premier League

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