Belfast Telegraph

Slaven Bilic targets top-six finish for West Ham next season

Slaven Bilic has targeted a top-six finish for West Ham next season as he bids to end the current campaign on a positive note.

The Hammers manager has admitted he enjoyed last season more than this one as his side aim to end an eventful campaign with some good news.

After finishing seventh last term, the Hammers are likely to end this one in the bottom half as they travel to Burnley on the final day of the Premier League campaign.

West Ham have endured a topsy-turvy season which has seen crowd trouble at the London Stadium and the departure of star man Dimitri Payet in January.

Bilic is set to meet co-owner David Sullivan on Monday and the Hammers boss revealed the club have their sights set on breaking into the top six.

Bilic said: "The ambitions are - the minimum (is) to finish in the top 10, but with the hope or plan to break into the top eight, top seven or top six.

"It's going to be very hard, you saw last year that it is possible but you have to tick all of the boxes, you have to have a good transfer window, stay out of injuries and we settle down in the stadium.

"It's not going to be blooming and glooming all of the time but we feel it's our home. We had some really good performances and some really bad performances there. This should all help us being better next season, knowing that all the other teams will do the same."

The Croatian's future has come under scrutiny in recent months but Bilic feels that his current squad will only benefit from their struggles.

When asked if he has enjoyed this season, the West Ham manager answered: "Make no mistake, I enjoyed last season more than this one.

" You know it's not enjoyable during that (tough) period but after that you become stronger, not only as a manager or not only as an individual player but you are building the character of the team.

"We are very motivated for this game, we want to finish on a positive but yes I am glad (the season is coming to an end), we all need a rest. I am relieved because we have many, many injuries.

"We need a break and rest to prepare for next season but then again, on the other hand, we can talk about that on Monday because I am very, very motivated for this game."

Defender Winston Reid will miss West Ham's trip to Turf Moor after undergoing season-ending surgery on a chronic knee injury which is set to keep him out for 10 weeks.

Hammers skipper Mark Noble has also had surgery on an abdominal complaint and will miss Sunday's clash.

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