By Amir Mir

Mark Lawrenson has claimed West Ham have been “working hard to improve defensively” as he backed Slaven Bilic’s side to beat Southampton 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.

The Hammers have conceded 13 goals in the league with five games played, as they sit in the relegation zone with three points having lost their previous two league fixtures 4-2.

BBC Pundit Lawrenson stated Bilic’s side having been working hard to improve at the back, despite being heavily criticised for their defensive displays in recent weeks.

“West Ham have been struggling at the back in recent weeks,” Lawrenson wrote in his BBC column. “But they have been working hard to improve defensively, and it will come.

“The Hammers’ off-field issues are obviously not helping but things at the London Stadium will improve with time and this season was always going to be far more difficult than their last one, regardless of where they were playing.”

Dimitri Payet scored a winning free kick in the 96th minute against Accrington Stanley to save his sides blushes and help them progress to the next round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday night.

Bilic will now welcome Claude Puel’s Southampton to the London stadium at the weekend, with the Saints having registered five points from five games as they sit in 14th place.

In other West Ham team news, manager Slaven Bilic reveals this 22-year-old is an injury blow ahead of the Southampton clash.