Sunday 23 July 2017

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic praises 'magnificent' Hammers who make Palace pay

Andy Carroll, centre, got a hug from Slaven Bilic after his stunning goal in West Ham's win over Crystal Palace
Andy Carroll, centre, got a hug from Slaven Bilic after his stunning goal in West Ham's win over Crystal Palace

Slaven Bilic branded West Ham "magnificent" after they shrugged off Dimitri Payet's absence to sink Crystal Palace 3-0.

Payet this week rocked the Hammers by asking to leave the club and refused to play against the Eagles.

But Sofiane Feghouli's first Premier League goal, Andy Carroll's stunning bicycle kick and a stylish late third from Manuel Lanzini ensured the France star was not missed in the slightest.

Indeed, West Ham actually put on their best display of the season while their so-called talisman kicked his heels elsewhere.

And Bilic was eager to put the spotlight on the players who proved their commitment to the club, rather than the wantaway midfielder whose image outside the stadium needed a steward to protect it from potential vandalism.

"It was a great day for us," said the Hammers boss. "I would like to praise the players, they showed everything we asked them for. I would say we were magnificent.

"They wanted to show commitment, determination, willpower and effort to win the game and that's what they did, all of them.

"I can call it almost the perfect result. Well done to the lads and to the crowd.

"Payet is a great player so you are losing quality, but the team showed it is about the team and not individuals. This is a great example for that.

"So let's talk about Carroll, or Darren Randolph, or Mark Noble. Michail Antonio had flu and a temperature of 38.4 last night. He showed brilliant determination, brilliant quality. That's what I want to talk about."

The first half was goalless but, after a tactical re-jig to a back four, West Ham kept knocking on the door and were rewarded when Antonio teed up Feghouli for a tap-in

Carroll then conjured up a superb acrobatic effort from Antonio's cross, a sure contender for goal of the season.

Lanzini galloped onto Antonio's third assist of the afternoon five minutes from time to wrap up a morale-boosting win and leave former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce still searching for his first victory with Palace.

"It's tough for us at the minute," Allardyce said. "I'm still finding out about the players here and they are making statements to me by the fact results are not good enough.

"We don't have the capability to make sure we don't lose. That's the first thing to put right at a struggling club and at the moment we don't know how to get that result.

"Today after 70 minutes we didn't look in any real trouble, but once we gifted them the first goal we lost our shape and our discipline.

"We all have to be more resilient and shut the opposition out. I didn't think we would collapse like we did so it was a bit of a shock at the end looking at the scoreboard."

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