David Sullivan gave Slaven Bilic a vote of confidence before West Ham’s match against Brighton – but he must now be having second thoughts.
The Hammers’ humiliating 3-0 home defeat, and the shambolic performance which caused it, left boss Bilic facing up to the prospect of the axe.
Joint-owner Sullivan had said Bilic deserved at least to see out his contract until the end of the season, but the whiff of relegation trouble will surely change that.
West Ham would have been 10th with a victory, but could now find themselves in the bottom three by Saturday evening.
The Croatian was badly let down by his expensively-assembled side, though.
Club record signing Marko Arnautovic was jeered when he was hauled off after an awful display, while £20million-worth of substitute in the shape of Andre Ayew fared no better.
However, Bilic insisted: “I’m not going to pinpoint players. I’m the manager and I don’t want to run away from the fact that it’s my responsibility, and I take full responsibility.
“But, of course, I can’t be happy with that performance.”
Asked whether he will be given time to sort the mess out, Bilic added: “I don’t know. What’s going to happen is not in my hands.
“I can’t comment. All I can say is on one hand I believe in myself, my work and my team, but on the other when you lose 3-0 to Brighton I can’t be happy with anything.”
Instead it was promoted Brighton lording it up in the top 10 – for a few hours at least – after Glenn Murray opened his account for the season with a header and a penalty, either side of Jose Izquierdo’s first Seagulls strike.
Manager Chris Hughton said: “I’ve been around long enough in this division to know that if you are not on your game, you can lose three, four or five on the spin.
“But we’ve been in every game so far. So I think if there is any statement then it’s that we shouldn’t be frightened of any team.”