(Reuters) - West Ham United need to snap their losing streak if they want to avoid a “do-or-die” situation during the Premier League run-in, manager Slaven Bilic said on Thursday.
He has watched his team slip alarmingly close to the relegation zone in recent weeks. West Ham were ninth in the table at the end of February, but five defeats in a row have left them in 15th place, five points above the bottom three.
Bilic’s team lost 3-0 at London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday and host third-bottom Swansea City on Saturday, knowing that anything other than a win will draw them even deeper into the relegation dog fight.
“It is the manager’s responsibility. I am not talking about blame – there is no point talking about that,” Bilic told a news conference. “It is my job to take those defeats on my chest and to prepare the team for our game against Swansea.”
West Ham’s situation has been complicated by their home form this season - the team have won just five of 15 league games at the London Stadium - and all their home matches after Swansea are against teams challenging for Europe.
With only the visits of Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool to come, the Swansea game and next weekend’s trip to basement-side Sunderland are “massively important” for Bilic, if his team are to put daylight between themselves and the bottom.
“I have had those kinds of games before and some of the players have had those kinds of games,” he said. “They are not do-or-die situations but we don’t want to come into a do-or-die situation.”
Striker Andy Carroll (groin) and midfielder Michail Antonio (illness) are in doubt for Saturday but Bilic is optimistic he will get the win he needs.
“We’ve got the belief. If you’ve got belief, you can win the confidence back. We believe we can win on Saturday.”
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru