West Ham United must find a way to win games to lift the “confidence-killing” pressure on the team, manager Slaven Bilic has said.
West Ham have looked a shadow of the side that secured a place in the Europa League after finishing seventh last season.
They endured four consecutive league defeats before Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough leaving the Hammers in the bottom three.
“This is different pressure than last season, when we were fighting for Europe. We are not enjoying this pressure and it’s hard to cope with it,” Bilic told reporters.
“You have to get out of this situation because this pressure stops you from expressing yourself in the best-possible way. This pressure is a confidence killer.”
“This is a negative pressure and positive pressure is different. This is the one which is hard to cope with, but that’s why we have to get a few points and wins to come out of that pressure and get that burden off our back.”
The Croat said the club’s summer signings needed time before they could find their feet in England.
Record signing Andre Ayew faces a long spell on the sidelines after injuring his thigh in August, while left back Arthur Masuaku, who joined from Olympiakos Piraeus also in August, is expected to be out till around November due to ligament damage.
“All the summer signings are good players and they will come good, at least that’s what we expect them to do,” Bilic said, “They came to improve our team and some of them have played really well in some games, but we have to help them also to settle into a new country and new environment as soon as possible.”
Bilic also urged West Ham to avoid over-dependence on winger Dimitri Payet, who scored a dazzling solo equaliser against Middlesbrough at the London Stadium.
“We are not a one-player team, but the others have to take their lead from Dimi. I was pleased with our work-rate, but that’s a minimum, as we have to step up our quality in the last third of the pitch,” he added, “It doesn’t have to be a wonder goal like Dimi’s, but it has to be more.”