West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic appeared resigned to his fate following his side’s woeful performance in a 3-0 home defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion on Friday.
Bilic, who just survived a tough period last season, said he assumed full responsibility for the hapless display that had home fans heading for the exits midway through the first half.
“It’s very hard for me to say anything clever now. I take full responsibility for it. I don’t want to hide,” the 49-year-old Croatian told Sky Sports. “It is not a good situation and the board will do what they are going to do. It’s their decision.”
Bilic’s fate rests with, among others, West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, who had said before the match the former Croatian national coach would be at the club until the end of the season unless things were judged to be desperate.
A double from Glenn Murray had given Bilic’s opposite number Chris Hughton plenty to smile about in his 100th Premier League match as a manager.
“I thought we were outstanding,” Hughton told Sky Sports.
Murray’s brace — taking his tally to five in seven meetings with the Hammers — and a delightful effort by Colombia international Jose Izquierdo gave Brighton their first away win of the season and the Seagulls first in the top flight since 1983.
Murray silenced the home fans in the 10th minute heading home German playmaker Pascal Gross’ perfectly delivered free-kick after the veteran striker easily shrugged off the attention of Pedro Obiang.
West Ham had very little to offer in attack and anything they conjured up was dealt with brilliantly by Brighton central defenders Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy.
Izquierdo made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime, unleashing a stunning curling right-footed effort after a weak challenge by Obiang that Joe Hart got a hand to, but was unable to prevent going into the net.
Hart had done brilliantly to deny Murray seconds before that by blocking an effort from the striker when one-on-one.
The hosts showed little spark or urgency in the second half, save one effort from Manuel Lanzini that just drifted past the post, but it was little surprise when the visitors went 3-0 up.
Murray had just been denied by Hart again, after superb work by Anthony Knockaert, but then made no mistake from the penalty spot after Pablo Zabaleta’s clumsy challenge on the striker had been penalized.
Schalke 04 on Friday scored a goal in either half to beat FSV Mainz 05 2-0 and climb to fourth in the Bundesliga with their second consecutive win.
Germany international Leon Goretzka put them ahead after 13 minutes and Guido Burgstaller scored for the second straight game in the 74th minute to make sure of the three points.
Schalke, who have had a rocky start to the season under coach Domenico Tedesco, had control of the game and allowed only one shot on goal from Mainz the entire first half.
Leaders Borussia Dortmund, two points clear at the top on 19, were yesterday to travel to Eintracht Frankfurt hoping to bounce back from last week’s defeat by RB Leipzig and their surprise midweek draw at Cyprus’s APOEL Nicosia in the UEFA Champions League.
Champions Bayern Munich will be looking to make it two league wins in a row under coach Jupp Heynckes when they take on Hamburg SV.
Montpellier Herault on Friday continued their good form against the leading teams with a gritty 1-0 win at AS Saint-Etienne.
Saint-Etienne were in third place before the game, but failed to create enough chances against a resilient Montpellier side that scored from their first good chance through Isaac Mbenza in the 22nd minute. The Belgian forward profited from a defensive mix-up to stroke the ball in from close range.
Montpellier drew against defending champions AS Monaco and runners-up Paris Saint-Germain and comfortably beat OGC Nice — the top three from last season — before facing Saint-Etienne.
Montpellier, who have conceded only one goal in five games, climbed to eighth place ahead of this weekend’s matches.
League leaders Paris Saint-Germain travel to play bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille tonight.
Unbeaten PSG were six points clear of defending champions Monaco, who were yesterday to host Stade Malherbe Caen.
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