After a honeymoon first season with West Ham, Slaven Bilic is starting to feel the pain.

“It hurts,” he has written in his Evening Standard column following the 3-0 home defeat by Southampton .

“The defeat did hurt, so why should I pretend that it didn’t? It hurt me personally, totally. It hurts me when I look at the Premier League table, it hurts me when I look in the mirror.

“What is the point of smiling? Does that make me a brave leader? I am a leader and I am very brave but I hurt after a defeat. Most of the managers are the same.”

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Speaking at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Middlesbrough he continued the theme.

“I am asking myself a lot of questions. I did last year when we were doing well and one short spell when we were doing not so well.

“But you can’t lose your head. I am questioning myself and I’m trying to be very open with that. But I’m a big believer in being calm, a strong philosophy which worked so well last year.”

Reece Oxford and Simone Zaza battle for the ball

He was forced to explain the actions of the team after players were photographed on a boozy night out despite the teams current woes. They reportedly spent £5,000 during a dinner at a Knightsbridge restaurant.

The next day Darren Randolph, Aaron Cresswell and Andy Carroll were spotted in a McDonald's at 7am in the same clothes.

Bilic said: “It was completely my idea. After the Southampton game I told Mark [Noble] the skipper to take the guys out to dinner, to spend time together which is always good.

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“For me it’s a good thing to stick together. It’s good for team building and that’s it.

“After that night we had a day off. Training yesterday was really good, but training last week was really good without bonding. I have been saying we now have to produce it in games.”

Middlesbrough next

Now the focus returns to the game against Middlesbrough. The team are at home and require a win.

“The only thing we are thinking about is the game on Saturday.

“With one win we can build everything back and we have a good chance at home. We are a team that is alive, the players are good together, they train, they listen, we talk about it a lot.

“But we need to do it in a game and not for half an hour, or an hour, or when we are one down or four down. But we have to do it for 90 minutes.”

He intends to put out the same team as last week as there is no substantial change to the extensive injury list. Aaron Cresswell will start training again next week but Andre Ayew has several more weeks of treatment.