Slaven Bilic: I’d prefer to win FA Cup than finish top four

Slaven Bilic:: The FA Cup is special .

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic would rather win the FA Cup than qualify for the Champions League.

Bilic made the astonishing - and refreshing - claim ahead of the Hammers’ third-round clash with Sky Bet Championship side Wolves at Upton Park.

The Croatian’s statement will be music to the ears of West Ham fans, who were angry when Sam Allardyce fielded a team of youngsters in a 5-0 third-round defeat at Nottingham Forest two years ago.

Allardyce was concentrating his resources on the relegation battle but with West Ham now flying high in sixth, Bilic can turn his attentions to bringing a first FA Cup in 36 years to east London.

Asked if he would rather finish in the top four or lift the famous old trophy, Bilic said: “I would like to win the cup. Of course.

“Over the Champions League? Yes. It is a cup! Win the cup and I can hold it up. Get in the Champions League and I have to buy a magazine to show the league table and shout ‘look where we are, look where we are’.

“The proof is silverware. So I would prefer to win the FA Cup...and then finish fifth or sixth!

“The FA Cup is special. There was a stage before they changed the format of the Champions League when the cup was good because through the cup you would qualify for the Cup Winners’ Cup and only the league champions would go through to the European Cup.

“But then they changed it and made it the Champions League. Suddenly it was more important to finish in the top three or four in the league than to win the cup.

But in England, the FA Cup for me never lost its value.”

French playmaker Dimitri Payet proved his fitness with an impressive cameo as a sub in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Liverpool, in which both Michael Antonio and Andy Carroll were on target.

Defender Winston Reid could make his return against Wolves, but winger Victor Moses is a week away and Diafra Sakho is due back at the beginning of February.

 


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