REUTERS - West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic has denied that Javier Hernandez is disenchanted with life at the club and will make a late decision on the Mexico striker’s availability for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Burnley.
The former Manchester United forward has scored three goals since returning to England from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen, but the club have won just two of seven league games and sit 15th in the table.
“Somebody made up the rumours that he is not happy at West Ham,” Bilic told a news conference on Thursday, in the wake of a report on Spanish website Don Balon that the 29-year-old was seeking a move in January.
Hernandez, who scored for Mexico in a World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday, has not yet rejoined training with West Ham, but Bilic expects him to be available to face Burnley.
“You have to bear in mind that Chicharito (Hernandez) didn’t train with us and we play an away game on Saturday and he’ll only be in training on Friday, so we’re going to see (if he’s fit),” Bilic added. “I‘m expecting him to be available.”
Burnley have made a surprisingly strong start to the season and are currently sixth with three wins and three draws from seven matches.
Manager Sean Dyche’s men narrowly escaped relegation last season after struggling to win on the road, but started the current campaign with a 3-2 victory at defending champions Chelsea.
They followed that up with away draws at Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, before another win on the road -- this time at Everton -- in their last league outing.
”Burnley are doing extremely well home and away,“ Bilic said. ”Last year, they were playing more on reaction than action, but they have changed it.
“They are still very solid and when needed very direct, but you can see them play and being braver with the ball and on the ball.”
West Ham have beaten Burnley home and away in their last four meetings, but Dyche is confident his team can build on their strong start.
“I think there’s plenty more work to be done... but I think to get off to the start we have is very pleasing,” the Burnley boss said. “It’s unrealistic for me to say that we knew it was going to happen because we didn‘t.”
Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis