West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic is still undecided about the team he will select to play Chelsea in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday (26 October). The Hammers manager has promised to field a strong side against their cross-city rivals – but will wait until after their final training session before choosing his team.
Bilic, whose side won in the last minute against Sunderland on Saturday (22 October), will be without long-term injury absentees such as Andy Carroll and Arthur Masuaku for the game, but the Croat intends to pick the strongest XI available to him.
"I said after the Sunderland game that we would have our strongest possible team. We will see at training today before we decide," he said during a pre-match press conference, according to West Ham's official Twitter account.
Bilic also explained that their upcoming schedule and the tantalising prospect of a Wembley final has convinced him to field a strong side. "It's not Wednesday-Saturday, we play Everton on Sunday. So we are going to play a very strong team and try and get through," the West Ham manager shared.
"It is a very interesting competition for us. If we go through, it's already the quarter-finals. Big teams are playing each other. If you go through, because some big teams will have left, you may have an easier game and then you're nearly there."
Bilic said, too, that the EFL Cup has become more of a priority for clubs like West Ham over the last decade or so. "It's a one-off London derby cup game. Five or ten years ago clubs weren't so keen on this cup, but now it's important," he commented.