West Ham boss Slaven Bilić "pleased" with performance at Stoke but insists Hammers aren't yet safe from relegation

West Ham boss Slaven Bilić "pleased" with performance at Stoke but insists Hammers aren't yet safe from relegation

Slaven Bilić believes his West Ham United side's Premier League status for next season is not yet confirmed although their goalless draw at Stoke City on Saturday puts them on 39 points, eight clear of the bottom three.

Charlie Malam

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilić declared himself satisfied with the performance of his side away at Stoke City but believes they still aren't safe from relegation despite reaching 39 points.

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland produced a Man of the Match performance to twice deny André Ayew and also keep out Manuel Lanzini as the Hammers were left frustrated at the bet365 Stadium.

The draw inches them ever closer to the 40-point mark, with Bilić having spoken of the importance of ensuring they are mathematically safe from the drop before the final day of the campaign.

And though he insisted he was pleased with his team's display in the Potteries - Bilić still does not feel the London club's Premier League status is totally secure.

Bilić admits West Ham can only blame themselves for not taking opportunities

He said after the draw at Stoke: "I'm pleased with the way that we played, I'm pleased with the third clean sheet in four games. That is the team's work, it is not because we changed the system to three centre-backs and all that. 

"I'm pleased with the point, it's not an easy game here. But I'm also pleased with the way we played. We limited Stoke to a couple of really good chances - one from Joe Allen at the beginning of the second-half and the big one for Marko Arnautović when we lost the ball too early.

"We were good on the ball, we created more than enough chances to score more than one goal, but we didn't score. Some of the great reactions from their goalkeeper like the first one against Ayew. An unexpected shot from close range, scissor kick, great stretch from him.

"Then you go 'okay, that's one' but in the second-half when he pulled out three saves in the space of 10 seconds or whatever, great. Apart from that, we also came [into goalscoring positions] many times through the combinations in dangerous areas. 

"You can't be happy, you have to score goals. In the end we have to be pleased with the point. We knew it was going to be very dangerous with us with the throw-ins and long balls.

"We coped with that really well, it's impossible to win every ball that go to him but we were good with our clearances and the second balls. So [I'm] pleased with the performance, pleased with the point, but in the belly there is that kind of frustration that we didn't win the game.

"We deserved to go in front. Last year, we went in front - 1-0 - and ended up losing the game 2-1, but we deserved to be 1-0 in front. Then you are more likely to win it. But we have no-one to blame that we didn't score but ourselves."

"We're not panicking but we're not safe"

On West Ham's position in the table, now they are eight points ahead of 18th-placed Swansea City though the South Wales club have an extra game to play, Bilić said: "We need more points. It maybe enough, nobody knows.

"We don't want to come into the last game of the season with the radio on, keep asking 'what's the score there? what's the score there?' We would love to avoid it.

"Still, we are not safe. We're not panicking, but we're not safe. Nobody around us is safe. Nine points to play for, we need more points.

"We have tough games, two home games, it's good to have. But we also know that we are playing Tottenham and Liverpool. Then we have Burnley last game. 

"The next game is massive, it's always a massive one anyway but especially now in this situation for them and for us, Friday night, it can't be any bigger.

"But make no mistake we're going to approach it in a positive way because we're four games unbeaten."