English Premiership

Bilic: West Ham must focus on Saints

Slaven Bilic (Getty Images)
Slaven Bilic (Getty Images)

Cape Town - West Ham United's sole focus should be on their upcoming Premier League clash against an in-form Southampton side on Saturday and not on their promising league position of sixth, manager Slaven Bilic said on Thursday.

The Hammers are on course to challenge their best ever Premier League finish of fifth, a feat they achieved in 1998-99 season.

Bilic's men are only six points off fourth-placed Arsenal after 24 games and their impressive form this campaign has raised hopes that the club could qualify for next season's Champions League or Europa League competition.

"We are good, we are consistent, I would like us to be more consistent. Of course there is always room for improvement but we are very confident," Bilic told reporters on Thursday.

"We have 14 games to play which is a lot, but we are fit, we are good, we are collecting points and I hope we are going to continue like this.

"We shouldn't be looking at the table at the moment, all we can influence is our performances so that's what we'll concentrate on."

West Ham face a tough test on Saturday against Southampton, who have won three games in a row prior to their hard-fought goalless draw with title contenders Arsenal on Tuesday.

"Yes, they (Southampton) have been unpredictable at times, but they are playing good, especially recently. They are a good side, they like to play football," the former Croatia manager said.

"They have great individuals and great pace on the counter attack, so I am expecting a very, very tough game and a very good game on Saturday."

Bilic also revealed new loan signing Emmanuel Emenike could make his debut against the Saints, while striker Andy Carroll has recovered from a hamstring injury in time to be included in the squad.

However, the 47-year-old Croat might have to do without defender Angelo Ogbonna, who is a doubt for Saturday's clash with "a bit of flu".

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