Slaven Bilic warns his West Ham players that, in Tottenham, they face the ‘best team in the Premier League’

Richard Parry
Friday night football | West Ham host Tottenham at the London Stadium: Ian Kingston/AFP/Getty Images

Slaven Bilic has said his West Ham players will have to be ‘on top of their game’ when they face Tottenham on Friday night.

Spurs can move within a point Premier League leaders Chelsea with victory at the London Stadium, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side currently on a run of nine straight wins in the top flight.

But Saturday’s goalless draw at Stoke was the Hammers fourth consecutive match without defeat, and Bilic has called on his side to pull themselves clear of the relegation zone.

“That game [against Tottenham] is always big, it’s a derby, and it can’t be just an ordinary game,” said Bilic, in an interview on the club's official website. “Then, if you add to that that it’s Friday night and they need points to stay in the race for the Premier League, and we need points to climb or to make us safe, it makes it even bigger.”

The Hammers came to closest to inflicting what would have been Tottenham’s only defeat at White Hart Lane this season back in November.

Bilic’s side were leading 2-1 at the Lane with minutes left on the clock, before Spurs completed a memorable comeback to win 3-2 in stoppage time.

West Ham have kept three clean sheets in their last four games, but in Tottenham, Bilic concedes they face who he regards as the toughest opponent.

“We’re going to approach it in a very positive way, four games unbeaten, with three clean sheets in the last four games and knowing we are playing, for me, against the best team in the league.

“Hopefully I’m going to enjoy it, but it’s going to be a very nervous game. We will have to be on top of our game, defending even better than we did at Stoke, and taking our chances and scoring the goals. But we did it last year, beating them at home, when they were also on fire and everything.”