Bilic salutes 'outstanding' Collins
Published 26/12/2015 | 21:21
Boss Slaven Bilic hailed James Collins after the defender celebrated a new deal to help earn West Ham a point at Aston Villa.
The centre-back signed a new two-and-a-half year contract on Thursday and was his side's outstanding player in Boxing Day's 1-1 draw.
Collins cleared Alan Hutton's header off the line in the second half as the Hammers hung on for a point - their fifth straight Barclays Premier League draw.
Aaron Cresswell had fired them ahead only for Jordan Ayew's penalty to level, but Bilic believes Collins, who re-joined West Ham from Villa in 2012, showed why he deserved a new deal.
He said: "He was again outstanding. He is in good form. It's not just today, it's ever since I came here. At the beginning he didn't play a lot, but every time he's played he is not only reliable, he has been magnificent. It's great to have him. We decided to offer him a new contract way before and he deserves it.
"He's a good player and I watch him in training every day and he's good on the ball. It's not just kicking the ball around. His presence is a very dominant one.
"I wouldn't call those players old-fashioned, he's just a really good centre-half."
But the Hammers chief was unhappy at Mike Dean's decision to give Villa a penalty after Rudy Gestede went down under Angelo Ogbonna's 62nd-minute challenge.
Bilic also felt the Hammers should have had two spot-kicks of their own for handballs against Leandro Bacuna and Ashley Westwood.
"I'm West Ham manager and I'm not objective, but I'm trying to be," said Bilic. "When it happened I saw Ogbonna in front of Gestede and Gestede came in front not because he was quicker, but because he pulled his shirt. It was long enough for the referee to notice.
"After that we had a couple of situations with handballs which, considering that penalty, these ones should have been given to us."
Rock-bottom Villa are now nine points behind fellow strugglers Norwich and go to Carrow Road on Monday.
They remain winless in the league since the opening day of the season - a club record run of 17 games - and boss Remi Garde admitted this result represented two points dropped.
He said: " When you look at the game I think we deserved more points, but West Ham defended very well. We knew that because they'd had three clean sheets in a row.
"The feeling is frustration more than anything else, because when you play like we played we gave 100 per cent and deserved more than that.
"If you add the last 45 minutes at Newcastle it's now a long time we've played good football without being rewarded with goals. It's a little bit frustrating, but the way we put them under pressure was a very nice feeling. I'm disappointed for the players."