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(Reuters) - West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic would not change a thing about the club's topsy-turvy campaign, saying both he and his players were stronger for the "priceless" experience.
A slow start to the season left West Ham in the thick of the relegation battle and raised questions about Bilic's future. However the club have navigated through the tricky period to climb to 11th ahead of Monday's Premier League London derby against leaders Chelsea.
"I wouldn't change it. When you've made it and you get out of that, the experience is priceless. I wouldn't swap when I was under pressure or the team was under pressure. I wouldn't swap it for a steady season," Bilic told British media.
West Ham have also had to deal with a host of off-field incidents such as moving to the London Stadium, fan unrest, crowd trouble, an early exit from the Europa League and Dimitri Payet's move to Olympique de Marseille in January.
"I consider this season as a great one for me individually, and for the team, and for the club, because this season we experienced a lot of negatives, a lot of positive things, but mainly a lot of new things," Bilic added.
"But was it hard? Yes. It's still hard. But you know that saying: 'What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger'? We don't want to start next season like we started this one."
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Clare Fallon