BBC pundit Jason Roberts gives verdict on West Ham's superb start, highlights potential problem

West Ham - Upton Park: Boleyn Ground

Jason Roberts has hailed Slaven Bilic for his work at West Ham United.

Pundit Jason Roberts has told BBC's Match of the Day 2 Extra that he has been impressed with West Ham's start of the season - and believes they could qualify for the Europa League.

The Hammers took a gamble over the summer by replacing the steady Sam Allardyce with the more unpredictable Slaven Bilic, but it's fair to say that the Croatian has made a huge impact upon his return to Upton Park.

The former West Ham defender came back to the club as Allardyce's replacement, but few could have expected him to have excelled so much this early in to his Premier League managerial career.

With victories over Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City this season, West Ham have been beating the so-called 'big clubs' on a regular basis this term, and they now sit in third place, just two points behind joint leaders Arsenal and Manchester City.

Fans are allowing themselves to dream about European qualification, and pundit Jason Roberts has given his verdict on the club's superb star to the campaign.

Roberts told BBC's Match of the Day 2 Extra that he can see Europa League qualification for West Ham, but highlighted a potential problem for the Hammers - keeping hold of their best players.

"I think they are performing above themselves at the moment," said Roberts. "And that's credit to all the players, that's credit to the recruitment and that's credit to Bilic. I don't think any West Ham fan will look at it and say they can stay where they are. I think their recruitment has been excellent; you look at [Manuel] Lanzini, you look at [Dimitri] Payet - these are players who, when they came in, people thought 'yeah, I've heard of them, decent players', but I think they've surprised everybody."

"The next issue will be how long can they keep hold of these players that are coming in? The likes of Zarate coming in, who is an excellent player who has been in-and-out with them, which shows the strength of their squad. When you're looking at West Ham, what can they achieve? Can they trouble the top four this season? I don't think so. Europa League? Maybe," he added.

Players like Payet are bound to attract interest, whilst loan star Lanzini is also likely to be in-demand unless the Hammers secure a permanent deal in January.

Bilic is enjoying a remarkable start to his spell as Wesst Ham boss, but he must now do what his predecessor Sam Allardyce couldn't do - maintain it over the course of the full season.

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