West Ham boss Slaven Bilic admits that he would sacrifice Champions League spot for FA Cup success
Bilic also spoke about rumours of Andy Carroll's exit amid interest from Sunderland and Newcastle
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has admitted that he prefers to lift the FA Cup trophy rather than aiming to secure a Champions League qualification at the end of the season. The Hammers are just four points away from Tottenham, who occupy the last Champions League spot, and face championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup third round tie today.
However, Bilic has revealed that he will field a strong line-up to ensure progress in the competition. The tie against Wolves at home is a tricky one considering the fact that the visitors are unbeaten in their last three games and have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the process.
Even though West Ham have enjoyed cup success in their history, the Hammers have won only one of their last nine FA cup games, losing five and collecting three draws.
However, West Ham have won their two meetings with Wolves in the competition and the championship outfit has failed to score in five of their last eight cup games.
Nevertheless, Bilic said: “I would rather win the FA Cup than get a place in the Champions League – all day long. Ideally finishing fifth or sixth as well would be nice.
“I want to win silverware. I remember the FA Cup about 20 years ago and still now the final can’t be bigger. It’s a celebration.”
“We’re doing well in the Premier League and we’re not looking for anything to make up for it. We’re not in a position to worry about league position so we want to progress in the cup. We went out of the Capital One Cup earlier in the season against Leicester City in extra time but we gave out best in that game.
“We see the FA Cup as an opportunity to progress. The FA Cup has never lost its value and it’s special to the fans.”
Bilic rules out Andy Carroll exit rumours
Bilic disappointed Sunderland and Newcastle by confirming that he has no intention of allowing striker Andy Carroll to leave the club and said that the Englishman remains a key figure at the club.
“The club are not willing to listen to offers. We want Andy to stay and perform like he does in most games,” Bilic said.
“Nobody at the club wants to sell him, he’s a very good player. But whenever he scores a couple of goals the rumours start.”
“The only way he can stop the rumours is to play badly, which we don’t want him to do. We don’t want to sell him. He’s very good in the dressing room and I know he’s happy here.”
The competition has given some uncomfortable results for the Hammers in the last couple of seasons, but Bilic believes that his squad can make progress this season.