(Reuters) - West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has backed under pressure manager Slaven Bilic and called for a show of unity at the East London club.
Bilic was reported in the British media to be meeting with club owners on Monday following the 5-1 home drubbing by Arsenal at the weekend, which led the Croatian to question the “intensity and dedication” of his team.
With high-flying Liverpool at Anfield up next at the weekend, Sullivan called for everyone at the club to rally behind the manager and team.
“Slaven cares passionately about the football club and this defeat will be hurting him as much as anyone,” Sullivan said in a statement on the club website. (www.whufc.com)
”We all need to stick together and get behind the team.
“I have no doubts that he is doing everything he can to address the situation and everyone is working together to ensure we turn our season around.”
Sullivan said he thought Bilic’s comments had been an honest response to a heavy defeat and not a sign of a split between manager and team.
“I saw Slaven’s comments after the game and as always he was completely honest with his assessment,” he said.
“Despite what some people have said, there is still a great spirit among the players and everyone is working towards the same objective.”
West Ham, who finished seventh last season, have gone five league games without a win and head to Liverpool looking to break that sequence on Sunday.
“We are refusing to make excuses, though, and the players will know that the performance was not good enough and we need to show a lot more if we are to get back on the winning trail,” Sullivan said.
Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney