Slaven Bilic admits surprise at Newcastle’s current position

West Ham take on Newcastle United in the Premier League this weekend.

Slaven Bilic has admitted to the Standard that he is surprised Newcastle are so low down in the Premier League table, given the quality of their playing squad.

Bilic said: “We go to Newcastle tomorrow and there are signs they are improving, both in results and performances. If you look at their squad on paper, they shouldn’t be where they are — it’s a big surprise for me. They are capable of scoring goals and winning matches — six against Norwich, three against Manchester United, beating Spurs away. They have a manager I really like. Steve McClaren has a lot of experience in this country, Holland and Germany.”

West Ham have been one of the best teams in the Premier League this season, but Newcastle’s campaign is one which has brought less happiness.

The Magpies sit 19th place in the Premier League table - having seen Sunderland leapfrog them with a victory on Wednesday - on 18 points after 21 games.

Getting out of the bottom three should not be too difficult, with only three points separating them and 16th placed Bournemouth, but their form has been questionable.

They have no wins in their last five Premier League games, but they secured a draw against Manchester United this week - scoring three goals - and their last victory came away at high fliers Tottenham Hotspur.

Newcastle have days when they can beat the best teams in the division, and on paper their squad is good enough to be pushing for European football, but too often they fail to show up on matchdays.

Bilic has admitted that he is surprised by their current league position, given their playing squad, but the Hammers boss will be hoping the Magpies don’t take any points off his side this weekend.

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