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Slaven Bilic admits West Ham are hurting as Mark Noble calls slump 'laughable'

Published 25/09/2016

Slaven Bilic and West Ham endured another difficult afternoon at the London Stadium
Slaven Bilic and West Ham endured another difficult afternoon at the London Stadium

Slaven Bilic admitted the buck stops with him after West Ham plunged further into crisis with a 3-0 home defeat by Southampton.

The Hammers are rooted in the bottom three after four straight Premier League defeats in which they have conceded a total of 14 goals.

Even captain Mark Noble branded their defending "laughable" after goals from Charlie Austin, Dusan Tadic and James Ward-Prowse condemned West Ham to their worst start to a season since 2002, when they went on to be relegated.

At least there was none of the crowd trouble which has marred their previous outings at their new London Stadium home - but then the stands were virtually empty when the final whistle blew.

Manager Bilic said: "That's not a good sign. It hurts me as a manager and it hurts the team. It's my responsibility, it's my team, I know how it works and I'm not running away.

"These are the same players, and the same manager, as last year and at the moment everything that was really good last year is bad this season and everything that was average last season is now way below par.

"The season has only started, it's true, but it's happened for four games now and we have to change it big time.

"I told the players after we lost to West Brom that there is no need to panic, the credit was there for a lot of them. But now that credit is gone."

Midfielder Noble pulled no punches after another embarrassing display, which followed a 3-1 loss at Manchester City and 4-2 defeats to Watford and West Brom.

Noble told Sky Sports: "If I'm honest, it could have been six in the end. On the bright side I don't think it can get any worse.

"We've conceded 11 in three games and it's laughable, and it's not good enough. We know that."

To rub West Ham's noses in it, the man who set Saints on their way was Austin, the player who Hammers co-owner David Sullivan once claimed that he did not try to sign because of his injury record.

But Austin did not look like a player who has no ligaments in his knee - as Sullivan once questioned - when he tucked in Ryan Bertrand's cutback five minutes before half-time for a fifth goal in his last four games.

The striker then set up Tadic to hit the second just after the hour mark, and substitute Ward-Prowse added the third in stoppage time to give Southampton a first away win of the season and a fourth straight victory in all competitions.

Manager Claude Puel said: "The first half was difficult. We looked nervous at the start in a large stadium. It was important to correct that.

"In the second half we could see a team and players with a good quality level and we created many chances.

"It was important for the team and for me that Charlie scored with his first chance. This is a striker with confidence."

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