West Ham v Sunderland: Positivity abounds as Hammers look for second successive victory

West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell (left) defends against Dame Ndoye in Sunderland's last visit to the capital to take on the Hammers. Cresswell is suspended for tomorrow's rematch. Picture by Frank Reid
West Ham left-back Aaron Cresswell (left) defends against Dame Ndoye in Sunderland's last visit to the capital to take on the Hammers. Cresswell is suspended for tomorrow's rematch. Picture by Frank Reid
0
Have your say

Manager Slaven Bilic believes that West Ham can build on last week’s important win at Crystal Palace, with Sunderland next up at the London Stadium tomorrow.

The Hammers bagged only their second victory of the Premier League season at Selhurst Park.

Asked if the win had lifted spirits after a turbulent start to life at their new ground, Bilic told whufc.com: “Definitely. I hope that period for us is over now.

“You can talk, you can analyse, you be positive but the best thing that gets the confidence back is if you win and a game, especially with a clean sheet in a London derby.

“It was good in the camp two or three weeks ago. We didn’t stop training, but of course it’s a better mood because the confidence is back, in a positive way.”

West Ham face a daunting run of fixtures following tomorrow’s clash with the bottom-placed Black Cats.

Bilic added: “I know the schedule, but I know also that all we think about is the next game. It’s always the same in any schedule.

“I know we have Chelsea, Everton and Stoke, and it’s going to be extremely difficult, but then it was going to be difficult against Crystal Palace, who are on fire on their home ground. We did it. So we are positive.

“We know that if we play as we played there, we know we have a chance.”

Left-back Aaron Cresswell is suspended, so Bilic may have to switch from the three-man defence whch worked well at Palace.

Bilic said: “That formation, it’s not only because we wanted it to be more solid, but it lets our best players be on the ball in the best positions. If we stay in that formation depends on personnel we can use in the game.

“Of course, because Cresswell can’t play, it will affect it. It’s not ideal, but we are going to see; we have a few options.”

Bilic has been boosted by the return to training of club-record signing Andre Ayew – a former Sunderland transfer target – ahead of schedule.

The Ghana forward, who joined the Hammers from Swansea in August for £20.5million, sustained a thigh injury half an hour into his debut against Chelsea.

Ayew rejoined his team-mates on the training pitch on Monday and has an outside chance of being in the squad to face Sunderland tomorrow.

“We were expecting him back later, in December or late November, so we are delighted that he’s back and now we’re going to see,” added Bilic.

“He looks good in training and we’re going to try to prepare him for games as soon as possible. We have a couple of sessions before the game against Sunderland and then we’ll see.

“If we talk about Saturday I’m not going to rule it out, but it’s unlikely.”