West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has issued a warning to his players not to get complacent against a Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday (October 31).
Despite a seven-game unbeaten league run and a place in the top four of the Premier League, Bilic recognises the Watford revolution – praising the achievements of Hornets manager Quique Flores.
Bilic said: “It’s going to be a tough game and they’re a tough team to beat. They’ve done really well and they will approach the game very positively because of the away win at Stoke City last week. It’s a new team that is improving every week – they have international and experienced players.
“I rate Quique Flores really highly not only because of his past as a player and a manager with big clubs such as Atletico Madrid, Benfica and Valencia but to make a team with about 20 new players in a short amount of time is amazing. They look very organised so it’s going to be very difficult and we have to be on top of our game if we are to continue this good run.”
The Hertfordshire outfit – who won automatic promotion to England’s top flight last season by finishing second in the Championship – sit in 13th place and are not considered relegation candidates in a season where failing Premier League clubs look like acting as a buffer to the promoted clubs.
As the Hammers look to extend their unbeaten away form, Bilic said he was not surprised with Watford’s solid start.
“It’s an historic and good club,” said the 46-year-old. “They got promoted and got new players. They have a blend of experience and young talents. They have a really good stadium and a good atmosphere and if you add Quique Flores who won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid then it doesn’t surprise me at all.
“It only surprises me that how quickly Flores has adapted to English football. They have the more different nationalities than any other team in the league and they look like a team that has been playing together for three or four years. He’s doing a great job.”
West Ham have a welcome boost with Winston Reid returning after missing the last two games through injury.
However FC Barcelona loanee Alex Song is not yet ready to return despite training with the first team for the past two weeks.
The E13 club have not tasted defeat at the home of Watford since 1985 – an 11-game stretch.