West Ham United vs Manchester City - Bilic believes Defoe could ease woes in front of goal



Posted Friday, January 06, 2017 by PA

Slaven Bilic believes Jermain Defoe would be the answer to West Ham's goalscoring problems.

The Hammers are understood to be trying to lure their former striker back to the club from Sunderland to boost their firepower.

Defoe left West Ham 13 years ago after they were relegated from the Premier League, but could be set for a return this January if joint-chairman David Sullivan gets his way.

He may now be 34, but Defoe has shown he has lost none of his goalscoring prowess, having scored 11 times for struggling Sunderland already this season.

Bilic said: "The chairman is trying really hard to get some players, if it's going to be possible, in positions we think we need. I'm not going to talk about names in public.

"(Defoe) has the things that are the most important in a football games - that's goals. He scored them last season, he was probably the main reason they stayed up, and then he continues to do the same this season, scoring again.

"In every game he is having chances and most of the chances he is converting into goals. He is an excellent player, of course."

Another forward on Bilic's radar is Brentford hot-shot Scott Hogan, who has hit 14 goals in the Championship this term.

"Scott is a good player, I've watched him a few times," added Bilic.

"He is scoring goals, he is very sharp, very quick, and a really good finisher. He does it in the Championship. He is really young, a really good prospect.

"But Hogan is not on our roster so that is it, basically."

West Ham host Manchester City in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday night and Bilic has been handed a boost with Sofiane Feghouli now available.

The midfielder's red card against Manchester United was rescinded and it is timely with Cheikhou Kouyate and Andre Ayew leaving for African Nations Cup duty.

Diafra Sakho, James Collins, Arthur Masuaku, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gokhan Tore are still injured but Sam Byram and Reece Oxford are back in training.

Manchester City are without midfielder Fernandinho as the Brazilian begins a four-match suspension after his red card against Burnley on Monday.

His absence leaves City short on midfielders with Ilkay Gundogan (knee) out long term and Fernando having also picked up a knock, although Fabian Delph could return.

Leroy Sane remains on the sidelines with an unspecified muscle injury while captain Vincent Kompany (knee) is back in training but not yet ready to play.

Manager Pep Guardiola has insisted he was "so happy" with Manchester City's victory over Burnley, despite Fernandinho's first-half red card.

The City manager conducted a series of terse interviews after his side ground out a 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium having played almost two thirds of the game with 10 men.

Guardiola complained about some of the decisions of referee Lee Mason but his manner sparked conjecture over whether something else might be bothering him.

He attempted to clear that up as he held a press conference to preview the trip to London Stadium.

Guardiola said: "We won playing for 65 minutes, 10 against 11, two days after playing at Anfield, so I was so happy about our victory, an important victory, as dropping points to Burnley could have made it difficult for our future.

"The players showed me many, many things. Sometimes I was wrong about my players, sometimes I want more and more of them, sometimes I am so demanding, and they showed me how good they are - how special they are for me, for the team and for the club."

Guardiola reiterated this sentiment when it was then suggested his demeanour did not give the impression he was pleased at the time.

He said: "I was so happy about how we won the game - we won a fantastic game. That is what it is."

City sit fourth in the Premier League table, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, going into this week's break for the FA Cup, which is another of Guardiola's targets.

He said: "After what happened in the last game, with West Ham I will try to win that game. It's a Premier League team and away, so it's tough, but we're going to try in that competition."



Attention: Third parties may advertise their products and/or services on our website.7M does not warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of their contents.
Your dealings with such third parties are solely between you and such third parties and we shall not be liable in any way for any loss or damage of any sort incurred by you.