West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has revealed he encouraged his players to attend a club-sanctioned night out on Monday (26 September), despite their dismal run of form. The Hammers are third from bottom of the Premier League, winning just one game so far this season – but Bilic thinks the team bonding session could prove beneficial in the long term.
West Ham confirmed yesterday (28 September) they are investigating claims made by a fan on social media that striker Andy Carroll and goalkeeper Darren Randolph were drunk on Tuesday afternoon following the night out. But despite the unwelcome attention, Bilic has insisted he was happy for the players to socialise away from the training ground.
"The team bonding was completely my idea," Bilic explained ahead of facing Middlesbrough at the London Stadium on Saturday (1 October), according to West Ham's official Twitter account. "I told Mark Noble to take the guys out and go for a meal. Spend some time together."
Despite this, Bilic admitted that having not won a Premier League game since August, he is deeply concerned about West Ham's current form and is asking himself "a lot of questions".
"I am concerned and it has been a bad start," he said. "But with one win we can build everything back with a win over Middlesbrough over Saturday. I am asking myself a lot of questions even when it was good last season. You think about how you can change things. You can't sit still."
Meanwhile, Bilic revealed West Ham will be without the injured defensive duo Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku for the visit of Middlesbrough, while Havard Nordtveit is also an injury doubt. He said, though, that Creswell is poised to return to training after the international break.
"Cresswell starts training on Monday and should be back after the international break. Havard Nordtveit is also doubtful," the West Ham boss shared.