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19th Dec, 2016 | 12:00pm

Bilic punishes players for West Ham poor season

By Emma Sanders

Slaven Bilic has cancelled the West Ham Christmas party and claims they can celebrate in the new year once the “business is done” because they have started the season so poorly.

The Hammers suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat against Arsenal at the beginning of the month and it sparked the manager into the stern decision to delay festive celebrations.

West Ham started the season in wretched form but have shown improvement in recent weeks, recording a surprising 2-2 draw against Liverpool and picking up victories in their last two games.

They have climbed to 13th after picking up six points in the last week and are now five points clear of the relegation zone but Bilic insisted there will be no festive celebrations until West Ham are in a safer position.

“I [will] take my staff out but I told them, no Christmas party. We can have a Christmas party in January or February, lets do the business first,” said Bilic, as reported by Sky Sports.

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“I want to enjoy that night out.”

West Ham recorded a 1-0 victory against Hull City on Saturday, which followed a similar 1-0 win at the Olympic stadium against Burnley on Wednesday.

Since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, the Hammers have only picked up victories in five of their first 17 Premier League fixtures and have lost eight games.

Key play-maker Dimitri Payet has looked out of form and Bilic has been dealt a number of major injury blows, including forwards Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll.

West Ham’s next clash is at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea on Boxing Day and a victory could see them move up to 10th place in the table ahead of the New Year’s Eve fixture against Leicester City.

In other West Ham news, this BBC pundit slated the Hammers over their win against Hull.