04 Nov Hammers finally feeling at home
Slaven Bilic says West Ham are finally starting to feel at home at the London Stadium.
The Hammers’ last match at the former Olympic Stadium, the 2-1 EFL Cup win over Chelsea, was overshadowed by crowd trouble.
But prior to those ugly scenes at the end, a thrilling London derby had been played out amid an atmosphere to rival that of their old Upton Park ground.
West Ham are back at home against Stoke on Saturday and Bilic hopes the stadium will be rocking once again.
“It was a great atmosphere,” said the Hammers boss.
“Don’t get me wrong, what happened at the end was unacceptable and awful, but during the game it was a derby, a cup game, under the lights.
“We felt really great and also because of that atmosphere we played well, and it felt good because we had the fans behind us so we couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere.”
The club have been working hard to increase segregation between fans ahead of the match to ensure there is no repeat of the violence in the stands.
“It may help but that’s the only thing that we can do,” added Bilic.
“The club have done everything, you can’t say there wasn’t segregation for the game against Chelsea, there was enough segregation, the gap between our fans and Chelsea fans was obvious.
“Now the club’s going to make an even bigger gap, and to be fair that’s all that we can do.”
Bilic’s main concern on the pitch is a lack of goals from his strikers – not a single one has scored yet this season.
Yet the Croatian remains convinced Simone Zaza, Ashley Fletcher, Jonathan Calleri and the fit-again Andre Ayew will break their ducks soon.
“We are not scoring many goals and we are creating chances,” he said.
“But I would rather have us creating chances and waiting for a moment that we’re going to convert them, than not to create them all.
“We were disappointed with the defeat at Everton last week but we are playing good recently really and we on a good path. We’re going to score goals.”
Bilic hopes to have forward Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll – unscathed after he was the victim of an attempted armed robbery on Wednesday – back to fitness after the international break.
Defender Winston Reid will miss the Stoke game through suspension.