Slaven Bilic says he can’t wait for Monday night and the chance to pick up his first home win….
Bizarrely, West Ham have beaten Liverpool and Arsenal away, as well as losing at home to Bournemouth and Leicester.
However, Bilic is confident that with his late late signings in the transfer window, plus players returning from injury, the Hammers can now add width and composure to their game.
It is eight years since Slaven Bilic and Steve McClaren last clashed as managers, with the West Ham boss describing his opposite number as a ‘real gentleman’.
However, that last match in 2007 saw the Newcastle Head Coach christened the ‘Wally with the brolly’, as he stood under his umbrella in torrential rain, watching his England team fall apart against Croatia.
Bilic says that he has met up with McClaren in the meantime, spending time with the then Wolfsburg manager when he went to watch one of Croatia’s players in action when national manager.
Let’s hope that the West Ham manager’s description of Steve McClaren as ‘a very good coach’ proves true on Monday night, then Newcastle can get their season properly up and running.
Slaven Bilic talking to the Evening Standard:
“I’m looking forward to our match against Newcastle on Monday at Upton Park. The lads are buoyant after that great win at Liverpool, we did some terrific business on transfer deadline day and we’re desperate to sort out our home form after two defeats.”
Wally with the brolly:
“I’m also looking forward to seeing Steve McClaren again. It will be the first time we’ve stood in opposite technical areas since that evening at Wembley back in November 2007, when we were coaches of our respective countries (Croatia prevented England qualifying for Euros – Wally with the brolly night). We will both remember that night with contrasting emotions…”
A real gentleman:
“I have had the opportunity to meet Steve since. When I was Croatia coach I made sure I watched our players for their clubs, no matter where they were — and I paid a visit to Wolfsburg, then managed by Steve, to check on our striker Mario Mandzukic.
“We had a chat for a couple of hours and I thoroughly enjoyed his company. Steve is a very good coach, as he has proved in Holland, where he guided FC Twente to their first league title, but just as important he is a real gentleman and I like him a lot.”
Newcastle need points:
“I look forward to meeting him again on Monday and, of course, I hope I will be happy again. But it will be a tough game, Newcastle have good players and need some points, as we all do.
“We have width now and we will be able to keep our composure while still attacking with numbers.”