West Ham’s debut season at the London Stadium has certainly been a rollercoaster ride, with the Hammers struggling to settle into their new home- until a thrilling victory over Tottenham Hotspur last week.
That victory has lifted spirits in East London and has raised the Hammers’ hopes of finishing in the top-half of the Premier League table, with Slaven Bilic’s side looking to end the season positively after what’s been a turbulent campaign.
West Ham’s struggles for form have come amidst a wealth of issues, as the club have struggled to play on the wider pitch at the London Stadium, seen summer signings fail to impress and lost star-man Dimitri Payet in controversial circumstances in January.
All of those aspects have led to a ‘very long’ season for Slaven Bilic, who admitted to Sky Sports his club’s campaign has not been enjoyable at times.
“It was a very long season and one that was not enjoyable at some points. But I’m sure that it will be the most valuable season for every one of us. It can help us lots for the future because you build your character – individually as a player, a manager.”
“When everything is good you know, it’s all cushy. But in the bad times, you are improving the most. That’s what happened to us this season.”
“That old saying, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, and it’s really true. I know that we will benefit from this season big time. Was it enjoyable? In some games, of course it wasn’t, but the amount of experience and energy you get from that, you can’t buy it.”
West Ham face a testing summer ahead as they look to improve their squad and keep key players within their ranks but they took a huge step during the week by securing top-scorer Michail Antonio down to a fresh deal.
Bilic’s own future at the London Stadium has been called into question but changing the manager will not fix the Hammers’ issues, as their problems are far more underlying and need stability to fix- and Bilic is a hugely popular figure behind the scenes.
With the right sort of recruitment this summer and more stable tactics, aided by a decrease in injuries to core members of the first-team squad, West Ham can kick on next season and push towards to where they aspire to be- the European spots.
The Hammers’ huge turnaround in the past month has seen the club fight away from the relegation spots and has left them with a chance to finish in the top-half of the table, which shows that the squad is still capable of achieving great things.