Bilic backed to put things right

West Ham United

Michail Antonio has backed Slaven Bilic to turn around West Ham's season after a disappointing start to the campaign.

The Hammers were well beaten by Manchester United in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday and sit just a point above the relegation zone in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s tough game at home to Arsenal.

There were signs of encouragement, however, in their last-gasp 3-2 defeat at Tottenham and then a 1-1 draw away to Manchester United last weekend.

Antonio believes Bilic bears little responsibility for the team’s poor position in the table and believes he is the right man to turn it around.

Speaking at an event to showcase the new Facebook-owned Oculus Touch controllers, he said: “You see he is very passionate but he’s a person you always feel you can go and speak to. When we were losing and things weren’t going well, he sat us all down and said, ‘I can’t put it down to your performances because we’ve been playing well. It’s down to individual mistakes, so what can I do to stop these mistakes?’

“But there’s nothing he can do because we’re human. Hopefully the mistakes just won’t come week after week now.”

The Hammers have deployed a back three in recent matches and Antonio has played right wing-back, where he can put his attacking talents to better use.

The 26-year-old has scored six goals already this season, making him West Ham’s top scorer so far, and he admits he prefers to play out wide rather than at right-back where he featured regularly in the second half of last term.

Antonio added: “My favourite position is playing on the wing. I prefer to play left wing, that’s my favourite role. I would like to be a winger in a four, like a 4-4-2, but right now I’m playing wing-back and playing well so I just have to take it and keep going.

“I haven’t spoken to the manager about it. I don’t feel the need because since we’ve changed it we’ve been doing well.

“I played right-back but we’ve changed to 3-5-2 and we’ve done well since so I can’t go to the manager and say ‘can you change the formation just to suit me?’ It’s one of those things.

“I’m a team player. I played right-back last season for half the season and now I’m playing wing-back but I’m scoring goals, I’m playing well so I can’t really complain.”