Chelsea v West Ham: Bilic's men continue Champions League push

Bilic and Co. have defied the odds this season to sit fifth in the Premier League, just two points adrift of the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot occupied by Manchester City and three behind third-placed Arsenal.

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West Ham manager Slaven Bilic

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said his team should "worship" the situation it is in as the Londoners look to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish.

Bilic and Co. have defied the odds this season to sit fifth in the Premier League, just two points adrift of the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot occupied by Manchester City and three behind third-placed Arsenal.

West Ham has done the double of Liverpool in the league this term, while it has also beaten Tottenham, Arsenal, City and Chelsea.

And as West Ham prepare to face Chelsea on Saturday, a match which could see it jump up to fourth, Bilic insisted the club can handle the pressure associated with vying for a European place.

"It is just a football game," Bilic said. "Psychologically it is just a football game, what we have played before.

"Twenty-ninth round against Chelsea or whatever. It is just a three-point game and we don't feel that kind of pressure. But it is definitely better to be in this situation than to be in the relegation battle or to be in the middle of the table, secure but without those positives.

"This is a situation we should worship. We should be in this situation every year."

Bilic, whose team is also a win away from reaching the FA Cup semi-finals, added: "We don't put the Premier League table in our canteen or restaurant – what if they win, what if they draw, what if this. It is routine business, we are training, we have a game on Saturday and after that we have the international break.

"The problem would be if we are down – 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th – they are thinking about it. That is the chip on the shoulder, that is the pressure, that is the burden. This is a bonus, this is great."

No Hazard and Costa

Chelsea will be without a number of key players when it play welcomes West Ham this weekend, most notably Eden Hazard and Diego Costa the most notable absentees.

Costa is unavailable seeing a red in the game against Everton. There were fears of a lengthier ban after the striker appeared to bite Gareth Barry right before his sending off, but the Toffees midfielder denied all the claims.

Hazard meanwhile, is suffering from a hip injury and won’t be back in time for the West Ham clash. While the Belgian has been far from his best this season, being without both players will be a real blow for Chelsea, who manager will be forced to employ youngsters such as Kenedy and Bertrand Traore in the game.

West Ham defenders James Tomkins (calf) and James Collins (hamstring) are out until after the international break, and on-loan Chelsea winger Victor Moses is ineligible to face his parent club, but Sam Byram comes back into contention after being cup-tied for last week’s draw at Manchester United.