West Ham co-chairman David Gold says the club will not talk to manager Sam Allardyce about a new contract until their Premier League future is secured.
Allardyce's current deal expires at the end of the season.
West Ham are 11th in the Premier League with 30 points, but have
only won one of their last six league games.
"We will sit down and discuss Sam's contract situation once our Premier League status has been confirmed and not before," Gold said in a statement.
"This is purely because the three of us [Allardyce, Gold and co-chairman David Sullivan] don't want anything to distract attention from our aim of finishing as high up the Premier League table as possible."
The Hammers have outperformed last season's other two promoted sides - Reading and Southampton - but
defeat at Aston Villa
on Sunday did not please Gold.
West Ham's poor league run
- Sunderland 3 West Ham 0 (12 January)
- West Ham 1 QPR 1 (19 January)
- Arsenal 5 West Ham 1 (23 January)
- Fulham 3 West Ham 1 (30 January)
- West Ham 1 Swansea 0 (February 2)
- Aston Villa 2 West Ham 1 (February 10)
"Disappointed for the fans who travelled hundreds of miles on a miserable day to lose to a team in the bottom three. We should do better."
his statement on the club's website
he said the club were very happy with Allardyce's performance.
He said: "Sam did a fantastic job of gaining promotion from the Championship at the first attempt last season and we are all pleased with how quickly he has got the team to adapt to life back in the Premier League.
"We went into Sunday's game with Aston Villa one place off the top 10 and that is no mean feat for a newly promoted side."
Allardyce, 58, who has been in charge at Upton Park since last summer, says that he will keep contract discussions between himself and the owners.
"I know my relationship with David Sullivan and David Gold well and the conversations that we have remain confidential," he said after the defeat at Villa Park.
"I'm more than happy to do the job that I'm doing right now and speculation regarding my contract situation has nothing to do with anybody else but the owners."