Bilic backs Adrian after mistake

Slaven Bilic has insisted he retains faith in Adrian despite the goalkeeper’s mistake costing West Ham victory in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Stoke.

The Spaniard needlessly rushed out to present substitute Bojan Krkic with the near-open goal into which the Stoke man scored to secure the visitors’ point.

The draw appeared a damaging result ahead of a run of league fixtures against Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Adrian’s form had already come under scrutiny prior to the Stoke match, but Bilic has no desire to turn to Darren Randolph and will stick with his first choice.

“He is my number one for sure,” said the West Ham manager, who also hopes to have Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll available again after the international football break.

“I’ve got no concerns about his form. Okay, the goal was a big mistake from him. He misjudged the ball. Maybe it was obvious from the touchline he was not going to get the ball.

“There was not any reason for him to go there; it was far away from goal and we had it covered.

“It’s a mistake but we should not forget how many times he has been a key man for us.

“I’ve always said we have a couple of really good goalkeepers and it is a fact that you want your players, including Adrian, confident. He made one mistake, that happens.

“He knows he made a mistake. But mistakes happen.”

West Ham travel to Tottenham after the international break and then face United in back-to-back matches in league and cup before taking on Arsenal and Liverpool.

“It’s a very tough schedule but we have seen how we played against top teams last year,” Bilic said. “We beat Chelsea, one of the top teams, here in the (EFL) Cup. On paper it is very tough.

“Four games plus one cup game against Manchester United, but we have to get ourselves ready.”

The result means the improving Stoke are unbeaten in six, and it was a further demonstration of their recovery after an unexpectedly poor start to the season.

Mark Hughes insisted the club’s hierarchy never put pressure on him during that run despite their increased expectations.

“We get great support from the Coates family,” he said. “I like to think I deserved a bit of support because I haven’t done bad for the club so there was never internal pressure. It was coming from the outside, if anything. We’ve turned things around now and we’re enjoying it.”

Hughes added that Bojan remains a key player for him despite Joe Allen impressing in his favoured position.

“Clearly we’ve got a real talented player (Bojan) within our ranks who in any other circumstance – other than the fact that the guy in possession of his position (Allen) is playing out of his skin – would be in the team. He’s just had to be a bit patient,” he said.

“There will be occasions (he’ll start) when I feel the right game, when we are playing the right opposition, and we’re in the right situation in terms of our confidence, which probably won’t be too far away given we’re on a six-game run. He’s a quality player.”

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