Slaven Bilic believes West Ham have to ‘start thinking like a big club if they are to become one’ as the Hammers prepare for their final five months at Upton Park.
The Hammers host Liverpool on Saturday lying just one point behind the Merseysiders, in seventh, and sixth-placed Manchester United.
Yet while those two traditionally successful clubs are still considered to be in the title race, lying nine points from top spot, no one expects West Ham to be in the shake-up come May.
The weight of history may be in Liverpool’s favour but, as the Hammers enter the year in which they will move into the Olympic Stadium, Bilic knows that mentality has to change.
“Manchester United or Liverpool, who are one point ahead of us, they are thinking that way (about the title),” said the Upton Park boss.
“It’s all psychological because it is Liverpool. I mean they have been used to being in a title race.
“Some people would give more chance to Manchester United or Liverpool than to Leicester – without any logical reasons about what is happening on the pitch because Leicester is much better than those two clubs at the moment.
“And I bet you that many clubs who have more points than Chelsea are more afraid that, with a bad run, they could get in more trouble than Chelsea. They are thinking about the top six at least.
“So it is psychological because we are used to Liverpool to be there. That is normal. That is the mentality. That is the structure of the club and that takes time to change.
“To become a big club, you need years of that, what Liverpool have; tradition, history, everything. And that reflects on your daily work, no matter who the coach is. It’s about the jersey, it’s the club.
“Let’s all say the smaller clubs, the clubs like us, or Crystal Palace, we are all trying to move forward. Of course we want to do it as quickly as possible.
“But this is a good example of how it doesn’t go like that. Now, we will never say we have a chance to win the league. Whereas for Liverpool it would be normal for them to say, ‘yeah, we are nine points off’. It’s in the head. And it takes time to change that.”