Sunday 23 October 2016

'Let's not praise England for possession, they were poor' - West Ham manager Slaven Bilic

Samuel Lovett

Published 21/06/2016 | 14:49

Slaven Bilic
Slaven Bilic

West Ham manager and ITV pundit Slaven Bilic has criticised England for their inability to capitalise on possession and lack of creativity.

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Speaking in the aftermath of England’s 0-0 draw against Slovakia on Monday night, Bilic attacked Roy Hodgson’s side who were frustrated by a compact and well-disciplined Slovakian side.

Bilic argued that England should not over emphasise their dominance as a whole within Group B given the quality of the sides they’ve faced and the tactics utilised by teams such as Russia and Slovakia.

Ján Kozák’s team made no real attempt to out-play England and sat deep for the entirety of the game as they chased down the 0-0 draw.

The West Ham boss said: “Let’s not praise for possession because [England] played against a team that didn’t to play. Of course you’re going to have more possession.

“But the quality of English reaction and action in the last third of the pitch was quite poor. Nobody tried to beat his own player or to do something to break the opponent who is defending with eight players.

“It shows like many good teams, like Germany, England are also struggling when there opponent is defending with numbers and they are hard to beat.”

The Croatian remained optimistic about the English side’s future in the tournament though. Bilic believes that opportunities will arise as and when England come against more attack-minded, possession-oriented sides who will afford Hodgson’s forwards the space they need.

“I’m positive because the next game the better the opponent is it’s going to be a more two-sided game,” he said.

“For England it is going to be better. I would be optimistic, not because of this game but in general.”

Bilic’s words could bring some comfort to fans - England have already showcased their ability to play and threaten against “better” sides as seen in their friendly against Germany when Vardy and Kane took full advantage of the space afforded to them within the German final third.

The ITV pundit also refused to criticise Roy Hodgson’s decision to make significant changes in his side’s final group fixture. He argued that the way in which England controlled the game as they had done in their previous two matches suggested that the introduction of six new players had not disrupted the English game plan as some had worried.

Independent News Service

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