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West Ham boss Slaven Bilic: Arsene Wenger’s willingness to continue at Arsenal is based on belief

PUBLISHED: 18:00 05 April 2017

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic during the Premier League match at London Stadium (pic: Adam Davy/PA Images).

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic during the Premier League match at London Stadium (pic: Adam Davy/PA Images).

PA Wire/PA Images

Hammers manager admires self-belief of Frenchmen and for sticking to his philosophy during the bad times

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the touchline at The Hawthorns (pic Nick Potts/PA) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on from the touchline at The Hawthorns (pic Nick Potts/PA)

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has praised Arsene Wenger’s longevity and believes the Arsenal manager will only carry on if he believes he can still achieve success with the Gunners.

The Croatian will do battle with his French counterpart this evening at the Emirates with both clubs struggling for form in the Premier League.

Arsenal have earned just one win from their previous six games in the division while the Hammers are without a victory since February 4.

Wenger is under intense pressure to leave the north Londoners, but looks set to agree a contract extension and Bilic has hailed his self-belief.

He said: “I don’t think he is saying he wants to carry on because of stubbornness. He is not trying to show people he is in charge and making decisions.

“I am sure his willingness to continue is based on his belief and what he feels he can do with this team and maybe the team he is building for next season.

Bilic added: “Having self-belief and being stubborn has definitely helped him achieve success because in the bad times of course you have to change something, but you don’t change your principles and philosophy.

“Your philosophy is where you have to have consistency - that is key - and also adjustment, but consistency is the key to have such a long career like he has had.”

With both clubs on poor runs of form, the two managers have come under scrutiny in recent months.

Arsenal are currently sixth and seven points off fourth-placed Manchester City, although with a game in hand.

Meanwhile West Ham are 15th and now only six points clear of the bottom three with eight fixtures left this season.

Bilic doesn’t believe the Gunners supporters have much to worry about, however, in terms of finishing in the Champions League places.

“I don’t think this is the first season when with eight, nine or 10 games to go they are out of the top four,” said the boss.

“There were a few times where they have had to beat Spurs to it a few years ago, so I think they know how to handle this situation. They are still in the FA Cup, so they can still have a good end to the season.”

Hammers manager was quizzed about the length of Wenger’s spell in charge with the Frenchmen taking over at the Gunners 20 years ago.

Bilic, in contrast, has only been at West Ham since the summer of 2015 – yet is currently the seventh longest serving boss in the Premier League - and admits it is difficult to stay in a job for a lengthy period of time in modern football.

“You cannot plan long-term now in today’s business. No way. I think those days are over,” said the former Croatian national team boss.

“Nobody can now say that he will stay at a club for 20 years. You may say you would like to, but it is definitely more unlikely that you will survive 20 years unless you buy a club, maybe, but even then you cannot do it.”

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