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Dimitri Payet will be remembered as great player for West Ham - Slaven Bilic


Dimitri Payet left West Ham for Marseille on Sunday

Dimitri Payet left West Ham for Marseille on Sunday

Dimitri Payet left West Ham for Marseille on Sunday

Slaven Bilic says Dimitri Payet will go down as a West Ham great - despite admitting the French rebel's departure is like a "new start".

Payet is public enemy number one with Hammers fans after refusing to play for the club as he engineered his move back to Marseille.

The 29-year-old France midfielder finally completed the protracted and controversial £25million transfer on Sunday evening.

West Ham fans have long memories when it comes to players leaving under a cloud - just ask Paul Ince or Frank Lampard - but Bilic says the supporters should remember the good times.

"The West Ham fans are angry with him now," said the Hammers boss.

"But I think after some time, when they think about Payet, they will not think about what happened at the end. They will think about a great year, the great games and everything that happened the year before.

"Now that anger and disappointment is overtaking everything that was good for the majority of the period.

"But in the years to come time heals everything. They will forget. They will remember him as one of the greatest.

"He was brilliant. I was so happy and proud, with my team, my staff, to help him achieve what he did. What he achieved with us was a great story for West Ham, for the Premier League and for France.

"I ain't going to forget it just because he moved. I really wish him well.

"After what happened in the last three months this is really a new start and it feels like every individual in the team and the team itself is taking responsibility.

"But they like to take responsibility. They worship the obligation that they have now without Payet."

The club have already began the process of replacing Payet - at least on the walls of the London Stadium where a picture of Andy Carroll is being painted over the Frenchman's image.

Bilic pulled out of a £15million move for Brentford striker Scott Hogan because he is happy with his attacking options, but that means leaning heavily on injury-prone Carroll.

However, Bilic insisted: "I ain't relying on him, but I am expecting him to be fit and to stay fit.

"There is no reason to think otherwise - apart from history. But I want to be positive. The key for us is Andy staying fit and I am expecting him to because he is training very, very well for us."

West Ham host Manchester City on Wednesday night and are expected to hand debuts to new signings Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass.

PA Media