(Reuters) - West Ham United will maintain their positive approach when they host second-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Friday as both teams fight for points to reach their own targets, manager Slaven Bilic said.
West Ham, who are 15th in the league, have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games and extended their unbeaten run to four games. They are seven points clear of the relegation zone after Saturday’s goalless draw against Stoke City.
Tottenham will be targeting a win as they hope to keep the title race alive and cut leaders Chelsea’s four-point advantage at the top.
With three games left, Bilic said that West Ham had to win to ease relegation fears.
“That game is always big, it’s a derby, and it can’t be just an ordinary game. Then, if you add to that that... they need points to stay in the race and we need points to climb or to make us safe,” Bilic told the club’s website(www.whufc.com).
“We’re going to approach it in a very positive way... knowing we are playing, for me, against the best team in the league.”
Bilic said that his players must be at their best on Friday to replicate last season’s 1-0 home victory against Tottenham.
“Hopefully I‘m going to enjoy it, but it’s going to be a very nervous game. We will have to be on top of our game... But we did it last year, beating them at home, when they were also on fire and everything.”
Striker Andy Carroll could return against Tottenham after an injury disrupted season where he made just 22 appearances for the club, scoring seven times.
“I will be very disappointed if he is not involved in our next game,” Bilic said.
”You want to have him at least on the bench, because it gives a lift to the team as we are lacking goals... and it looked, at one stage of the season, that he would be OK and all that.
“It’s not coincidence that during that period we won six out of nine, then suddenly we are without him.”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty