Belfast Telegraph

Slaven Bilic able to smile at war of words between West Ham and Sporting Lisbon

Slaven Bilic admitted he saw the funny side of the war of words between West Ham and Sporting Lisbon.

The clubs have been involved in an unseemly exchange since the transfer window closed over the Hammers' failed attempt to sign Portugal midfielder William Carvalho.

Sporting's accusation that West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan lied about making a bid for Carvalho has led to the threat of legal action from West Ham, before the Portuguese club's president Bruno de Carvalho labelled Sullivan and fellow Hammers chief David Gold the 'dildo brothers'.

At least that gave Bilic something to smile about with the pressure building following his side's poor start to the season.

"There have been some issues," the Hammers manager said with a smile.

"It was funny for me to read some of those comments. It made me laugh.

"But I wanted the player, Carvalho. We kept it low profile for the whole summer and it looked promising. What I know is West Ham spoke to Sporting Lisbon and told them we wanted the player.

"But for me to say something about that - I'm not afraid of saying my opinion but that is not the way I work. I don't want to talk publicly about dirty laundry."

Meanwhile, Sullivan's claim that Bilic turned down the chance to sign Renato Sanches and Grzegorz Krychowiak has been interpreted by fans as the chairman hanging the under-pressure manager out to dry.

Sanches subsequently moved to Swansea while fellow midfielder Krychowiak is now at West Brom.

Bilic added: "David Sullivan likes to talk - it's his right to be able to. I wanted the player but that is not exactly what happened with those two.

"I wanted Carvalho and it looked likely - and to be fair, during my time at West Ham, it's very common that when it looks like a player is going to happen, that two or three other names are thrown in and that distracts you from the main target, and that's what happened."

The whole messy affair has at least taken the spotlight away from Bilic, whose side lie bottom of the Premier League after defeats in their first three matches.

West Ham finally get to play their first home game of the season - due to the London Stadium hosting the World Athletics Championships - when they face Huddersfield on Monday night.

"My job is to raise the performance," said Bilic. "We didn't start well but Monday is a good opportunity to start winning games and get on the right tracks."

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