Shearer delivers verdict on Bilic-West Ham speculation, 30-year-old has proved crucial
By Will Butcher
Alan Shearer believes West Ham must get behind under-fire manager Slaven Bilic after a turbulent season in east London.
Bilic told Sky Sports that he is aware of the pressure surrounding him after a fourth straight defeat to Hull on Saturday, that saw the Hammers surrender a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1.
The Croatian has failed to replicate the successes of 2015-16, which saw him guide the Hammers to a lofty seventh place in the Premier League and qualify for Europe.
Despite being without a win in six, Bilic was defended by Shearer on BBC One’s Match of the Day on Saturday night.
Shearer urged the West Ham board to back their manager, after a difficult season that has seen factors out of Bilic’s control affect the team including the loss of 30-year-old Dimitri Payet.
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“I think it is unfair [Bilic speculation],” Shearer said. “West Ham have struggled massively all season, and I know they haven’t won in six but Bilic has lost his best player in Payet, as well as suffering many injuries.
“Twin that with a move to the new stadium, it was always going to be hard for Bilic. I think the board need to come out and back him, rather than replace him.”
The Hammers took the lead through England international Andy Carroll, who expertly controlled a lofted pass before slotting the ball past Eldin Jakupovic.
However, Scotland left-back Andrew Robertson burst through the Hammers defence to slide the ball home after good work from Kamil Grosicki in the second half to level the scores.
With just five minutes remaining, Poland international Grosicki turned provider for a second time, as his corner was superbly headed home by Andrea Ranocchia.
The loss leaves the Hammers in 14th place with the end of the 2016-17 season still eight games away, as they travel across London to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
In other West Ham news, the Hammers are part of a hotly-contested race to sign this Premier League defender.