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Alan 2:00 Fri Sep 29
Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Evening Standard

Slaven Bilic: No one mentions it when substitutions work, but get it wrong and you're alone

Slaven Bilic

When I was asked at the start of this season for one wish to be granted, I replied that I wanted stability. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet achieved that goal. We are still in a period of turbulence, but I remain confident about the future.

The season didn’t start well for us — there is no sense in denying it — so it was never going to be calm and cool after that.

We had to do something — and we did. We changed things a little and the result was four points and two clean sheets from two games — three if you count the League Cup win over Bolton. That calmed things down a little, but then one defeat, at home to Spurs last Saturday, and the winds are blowing again.

At one time in the match it was 3-0 and it looked bad. It was never a 3-0 game, as we proved when the players showed great character to battle back to 3-2. If anyone was going to score another goal at the end it was us, but time ran out.

We were very disappointed. I thought we had done well until a 10-minute spell when we made mistakes for the first two goals. You can’t make avoidable errors against Spurs because they are clinical. They will punish you, as they showed against us and in the Champions League this week in Cyprus.

Now the turbulence is once again with us, but we are determined not to let that one result blow us off course.

We lost, yes, but, as against Southampton, we came back from conceding early goals. That, for me, shows we have good character and that we are a fit team.

We must keep that concentration. You can’t afford, when you play against the top teams, to lose your concentration and discipline, to leave the position where you should be for 90 minutes.

There was some criticism, also, of my decision, when Michail Antonio had to leave the field, to bring on Andy Carroll. We had options and I decided on that one. I also brought on Arthur Masuaku, who crossed the ball for our second goal, but no one seemed to mention that, just as they didn’t talk about me bringing on Andre Ayew for Chicharito against Huddersfield before he scored.

That is football. When a substitution works — and they don’t always work, no matter who is the manager — everyone would have done it, but when it doesn’t immediately go well, then you are on your own.

That’s life.

We have some matches in October which, on paper anyway, give us an opportunity to pick up points, move up the table and switch off that spotlight which is on us, at least for a while. After Swansea at home on Saturday, we have the international break, and then we go to Burnley, followed by Brighton at home and then Crystal Palace away. We also play Spurs in the Carabao Cup.

These are crucial games and, with everyone back from international duty fit and well, we are confident. We shouldn’t think too far ahead, though. Let us just focus on this match against Swansea and see where we are after that.

The match on Saturday is the final one before the players — and we have a lot of them — go away to represent their countries. Sometimes teams are a bit cautious in these pre-international break games. No-one wants to lose because, if they do, they have to live with it for the next couple of weeks; you don’t have another game to make it up a few days later.

We are not absolutely sure how many players will be going. We are still waiting for confirmation on some, because they are on stand-by.

Back here, we will have a couple of days off, but then be back training. In the last international break, we also worked on fitness levels, and it worked well because we looked strong against Huddersfield. Winston Reid, for example, has to go to Japan for a friendly for New Zealand but he has to play because their next game is a qualifying tie.

The same questions about my future resurfaced after the Spurs game. There is no way for me to change that, and I am not going to moan about it because I have a job I love at a club I love, so what good does moaning do?

It’s a simple story. If we win some games, those sorts of questions will be packed away in a drawer — but it will never be locked. It’s been going on for a long period now but I’m not tired, it won’t affect what I do.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

After8 5:06 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
How utterly depressing. We've got a whole season of this to look forward to.

Godwinson 4:33 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Hermit Road 2:50 Fri Sep 29

Agreed. He seems to have no fight in him.

Sir Alf 4:31 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Bilic is either deluded, totally oblivious to the problems, clueless or in total denial. In fact I think he is all of those things.

His head's gone.

, 4:05 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
nonentity 3,36

It always pleases me to know that I have your attention.

Please keep up your good work because your undoubted intellectual heft is vital to this Board.

Oh, and I wish you a long and fulfilling life.

Pervy McBeer 3:38 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Cheering a player who's coming on isn't a reflection of the crowds agreement with the decision. They aren't cheering the manager for making a good decision. They're cheering the player to get behind them. Why would you boo an on coming player just because you think it's the wrong decision, it's not his fault.

JustAFatKevinDavies 3:36 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
I passionately wish death upon you every time you post, comma.

, 3:30 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
The coming on of Carroll on Saturday was more of an "oh dear" than a cheering moment.

Trevor B 3:24 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
andyd

I'm not quite sure how you would know that the complaining WHOers were in the stadium cheering the decision to bring him on? Could you enlighten me perhaps????

The fact is that Antonio was being cheered off and cheered to come back quickly, in recognition that he is one of our favourite players. Players are generally cheered when they come on because they have done nothing wrong and you want to show them that you want them to play well. It was also towards the start of the game, when fans were, at the time, fairly happy with the way the way the game was going, so of course they are going to be less likely to boo.

Myself and many of those around me gave a groan when we saw that Bilic was about to change the system so early that was clearly working OK. But of course we still cheered on our player.

, 3:22 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
The fact is that me and those around me expected that Bilic would keep on with the system being played and replace Antonio with someone able to play a similar role. The advent of Carroll totally changed us to the huge benefit of the opposition.

andyd12345 3:18 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Trevor - but the point is the people that were cheering when he came on, are exactly the same people that are now slating him for making such a stupid decision. It's double standards to be honest.

Trevor B 3:16 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
andyd

Carroll also got a standing ovation for making it past the 80 minute mark on his comeback, I wouldn't put too much faith in the opinion you hear from the happy clappers who love the dustbowl.

andyd12345 3:14 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Everyone has been very quick to lambast him for bringing on Carroll. But I distinctly remember the crowd cheering when Carroll came on, unanimously agreeing with Slav's decision. I didn't hear many groans or boos. Ironically there were loads of groans and boos when Ayew came on for Hernandez the week before, and they quickly stopped when he bagged a goal and an assist.

It's easy to criticise with the benefit of hindsight.

Robson 2:56 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Hi does have a point. We were dominating the game but after half an hour we hadn't scored, and neither had they. Antonio, who had been quiet anyway, goes down and Bilic uses the opportunity to push harder with a more direct attacking formation. Bold but understandable. Don't we like attacking football? It didn't work and we conceded 2 in quick succession due to individual errors. But the change ultimately culminated in two goals for us. I don't think it's as clear cut as everyone says, and ultimately it is his responsibility, but not as naive as everyone makes out.

Sven Roeder 2:52 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Both games that we made an absolute pigs ear of through incompetence and ill discipline.
If we had shown any intelligence we could and should have won both
Hardly ones to put on your cv

the exile 2:52 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Sounds like he expects sympathy. Fat chance of that.

Hermit Road 2:50 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Managers always get credit for making good subs. These are the words of a victim, not a leader.

Eric Hitchmoe 2:48 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
"We lost, yes, but, as against Southampton, we came back from conceding early goals." - Where we also lost. It really comes to something when, in an attempt to deflect attention from a defeat, you refer to another defeat.

chedylan 2 2:39 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
Unless anyone thinks Carroll and Hernandez are similar players of course it did.

Russ of the BML 2:34 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
So if a manager brings a sub on who changes the game and plays a blinder nobody mentions it?? Sorry Slav you are talking bollocks.

And it shouldn't take a load of West Ham fans and journalists to tell you the Carroll sub was wrong after the event. He should've known it was wrong at the time. I think that says it all really.

Far Cough 2:33 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
chedylan 2 2:28 Fri Sep 29

But Alex V reckons it never changed the system?

Sven Roeder 2:32 Fri Sep 29
Re: Slaven Bilic column: Evening Standard
So is he admitting Carroll was the wrong substitute or just having a whine about people criticising him?

It does sound like he wrote that locked in his office while Sullivan hammered on the door and Gold tried to force a P45 under it.
Bilic set fire to the P45 and escaped out the window and down a drain pipe so will be on the touch line tomorrow

I think he knows that if he loses tomorrow the international break is the sacking window.

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