Be on top of our game
After a poor start to the year, the Hammers seem to be back on track after last week's comfortable 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
Dimitri Payet dominated the headlines ahead of Saturday's clash, but goals from Sofiane Feghouli, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lazini gave them the win. They will face a tough test against Aitor Karanka's side, but the coach admitted that there is a sense of positivity around the side.
“We have a game on Saturday where we definitely want to keep all this positivity around us,” Bilic told whufc.com. “We have had it on the training ground this week and we don’t want to lose the momentum.
“We have a very difficult game on Saturday," he stated. "Against a team that is very, very solid."
"They don’t score a lot but they don’t concede a lot or give away too many chances," the coach stressed. "But again, it’s a good opportunity for us."
"We’ve got to be on top of our game," the Croatian admitted. "I think we have a good chance."
“We’re in a good situation now," he affirmed. "But we want to be in a really good situation."
"For that you need points and for points you need performances," Bilic added. "For performances you need confidence and atmosphere and everything.”
Deserving of his chance
One player who shone and opened the scoring last week was Feghouli, who has come on leaps and bounds in the last few weeks after a slow start to the campaign.
The Algerian hasn't trained all week having picked up a knock but is expected to travel to the North East, and Bilic admitted that the winger is deserving of a run in the squad.
“Sofiane deserves his chance big-time," he said. "Because he was really good and has got better and better in sessions."
"Then you think about him more," the coach stressed. "You give him a chance because he is a good trainer, he is fitter."
"Because he makes a difference on the pitch because he gets more minutes," Bilic concluded. "Then it can end with him becoming a very regular player for us – it’s so simple.”
West Ham United will take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, January 21 with kick-off at 3pm GMT.