Former West Ham winger backs Slaven Bilic, style criticisms unfair

Former West Ham winger Trevor Sinclair believes the club’s fans should put results before style after a troubled opening to the Premier League season.

The Hammers picked up their first victory of the campaign with a 2-0 success over Huddersfield Town on Monday, but the performance didn’t meet with everyone’s approval.

Bilic’s side launched a series of long balls to striker Andy Carroll, but Sinclair insists the criticism was unfair.

“Monday was about the result more than the performance,” he told BBC Sport.

“And sometimes style has to go out of the window, even at West Ham.

“When you look at who Bilic had available for that match, you can see why he played to their strengths – and his gameplan worked.

“Bilic was missing creative players like Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini against Huddersfield, and when he gets them back he can return to playing the way the fans want to see.

“He kind of has to, really. I know from my time there that, when people talk about the ‘West Ham way’, it is because some supporters did not mind if we didn’t win, as long as we entertained them.

“Some of the fans would always take playing a good style of football ahead of being successful by playing the wrong way.

“It is a tough one for Bilic because he needs to play good football and get results, so he needs to find a balance between the two.”

West Ham are back in action on Saturday when they travel to face West Brom.

The Baggies ran out 4-2 winners at the Hawthorns last season, but the Hammers will hope Monday’s result will help to spark a surge up the Premier League table.