West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic prepared his players for the Manchester United tie at Old Trafford on Saturday (December 5) by declaring the Red Devils are “not a boring team”.
Louis Van Gaal’s playing style and training methods have come in for criticism, despite the club sitting pretty in third in the Premier League table – one point away from leaders Manchester City.
They have only conceded 10 league goals this season, fewer than any other team in the division.
Hammers boss Bilic said he would love to get his team playing like that if it meant getting more wins in the bank.
Bilic said: “They’re different than the Ferguson era. Especially at home they were more electric, quicker and playing more vertically. Yes, they have had some narrow victories, but they’re victories. They’re winning and are not conceding goals. I don’t know why people are saying they’re boring.
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“They have a lot of ball possession and control games. They try to win every game but when the opponents are defending in numbers you cannot play quicker or play vertical because you need space. We can call it controlled football – we can call it patient football but so far it is very effective because they’re sitting well in the table.”
Despite a four game winless run, West Ham have claimed some scalps already against the elite clubs. Away wins against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City could give them a sense of encouragement and belief going into Saturday’s game.
However, Bilic says there’s no pressure on West Ham to produce another shock win against a big side.
He said: “We know it’s going to be hard because Manchester United are good at home. They don’t give you a lot of chances but the pressure is there not because of the away wins we’ve had already but just because we want to win the game.”
The E13 club have lost seven consecutive Premier League games at Old Trafford and have only won twice there in the Premier League era.
Of their 19 Premier League visits, the Hammers have only managed to score 10 goals and have never scored more than one in a game.
If West Ham do manage to beat Manchester United they would become the first team in Premier League history to beat Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and United away from home in the same season.