(Reuters) - West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic hoped his side’s 2-2 Premier League draw at Liverpool on Sunday would serve as a springboard for success in the hard games ahead.
The precious point lifted the Hammers out of the relegation zone, one point clear of Swansea City and Hull City, but the Croat knows there is a long way to go to secure safety.
His men host 13th-placed Burnley on Wednesday followed by Hull City on Dec. 17 and, after being mauled 5-1 by Arsenal at the London Stadium earlier in the month, badly need to pick up points against both teams on home turf.
”When you lose 5-1 at home and go to Anfield and concede early your confidence drops,“ Bilic told Sky Sports. ”But we showed character, teamwork and togetherness. We have a couple of games at least at home that we have to win basically.
”Hopefully, we are going to win them and then it can change, not the season but it can help us going up the table, getting the confidence, being in a not comfortable situation but much better than this one.
“They’re going to be very hard games, of course, where we have to show our quality first of all, our togetherness and everything. They’re going to be a very mentally difficult couple of games, but I‘m sure we are going to be ready for Burnley.”
After hosting Hull, the Londoners visit Swansea on Dec. 26 in what are two key matches that can put clear air between them and the basement battle.
They follow that with a New Year’s Eve trip to champions Leicester City, who thrashed Manchester City 4-2 at home on Saturday with a Jamie Vardy hat-trick, before hosting Manchester United on Jan. 2.
Bilic, who was manager at Turkish side Besiktas before joining West Ham in 2015, dedicated Sunday’s point to “the people in Turkey” after bomb attacks outside the Istanbul club killed 38 and wounded 155 on Saturday.
The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), which has claimed several other deadly attacks in Turkey this year, said in a statement on its website that it was behind the blasts.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris