Slaven Bilic was embarrassed by West Ham’s first-half display against West Brom and admits his side have problems following a third successive Premier League defeat.
Bilic this week accused his team of being in a “comfort zone” and playing in “cruise control” so far this season, following just one league win and a Europa League exit to Astra Giurgiu, and you could see what he meant.
The Hammers arrived at The Hawthorns after conceding four goals without reply last weekend to lose 4-2 at home to Watford and West Brom, criticised by their supporters last season and so far this campaign for not being entertaining or scoring enough, found it equally simple to penetrate Bilic’s men.
Nacer Chadli, superb on his home debut, Salomon Rondon and James McClean netted before half-time and Chadli grabbed his second goal of the game to put West Brom 4-0 in front after 56 minutes.
SB: "This is the second week in a row we are forgetting the basics. We have to do something. I know what my team is capable of." #WBAWHU
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) September 17, 2016
Bilic said: “It was one of those days. We’ve had a few at the start of the season and we have a problem.
“I don’t like to hide behind mistakes, they happen, and I don’t like to use the same language as I used after the game. But the key word is again – it’s happened again.
“The defending is not as required in a league like the Premier League. You can’t expect to get anything, make a comeback or anything like that, when you are 3-0 down at half-time – and then 4-0 down.
“It is a difficult spell and to be honest at half-time I felt embarrassed. At half-time it was a very bad feeling.
“We are weak and we have a problem. We have to act and solve the problem. I don’t want us to react, I want us to act. We have a problem. It is no time to panic but we have to act.
“We need to be aware of the situation and I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I am and I have to live with this 24/7.
“The ball was in front of our goal after 10 seconds. It was not a chance but the ball was put across our goal, very dangerously. I mean, 10 seconds. It is a lack of awareness from the start, it’s not even quality.
Great game, lads! Let's now maintain this and keep the goals and wins coming. Thanks to our fans for the support! 👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/0OkJhhichU
— Salomón Rondón (@salorondon23) September 17, 2016
“You have to praise the opponent, of course, for what they are doing with the ball, and we could talk about Rondon’s quality, or whoever, but it was also down to my players and at the moment we are not doing the basic things that were at the cornerstone of what we did last year.”
It was the first time in almost two years that West Brom had scored four times in a Premier League match and the first time in more than 12 months they had won a game by more than a single goal.
Dimitri Payet struck the inside of a post with a free-kick on the hour and shortly afterwards crossed the ball for Michail Antonio to head home. Payet was then brought down by Brendan Galloway to allow Manuel Lanzini to reduce West Ham’s deficit further from the penalty spot with 65 minutes on the clock.
The unlikely comeback did not materialise but West Brom assistant manager Dave Kemp joked: “We’re not used to being 4-0 up.”
Kemp then went on to praise club-record signing Chadli following his two goals and two assists.
He said: “He’s a good player and good players help, especially at the level we’re playing at.
“You need players like him to be able to get on the ball and do things. He’s come up with two goals today and made the other two and that’s the sort of thing that’s going to win you games when you’ve got that kind of quality in and around their goal.”