Thursday 14 December 2017

Bilic delight after Hammers battle back

Southampton 1 West Ham 3

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic. Photo: PA
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic. Photo: PA newsdesk

Slaven Bilic saluted a "fantastic" display from West Ham after they bounced back from their midweek mauling to sink Southampton. The Hammers were thumped 4-0 at home by Manchester City on Wednesday, and Bilic may have feared the worst when new signing Manolo Gabbiadini fired Saints ahead after just 12 minutes.

But Andy Carroll equalised within two minutes, Pedro Obiang added the second before half-time and a Mark Noble free-kick, deflected in by Steven Davis, lifted West Ham back into the top half.

"After the City game I said that no matter how much that hurt us it should not affect our confidence," said Hammers boss Bilic. "That's what happened here. Today we were fantastic. When we had the ball we were everything you can ask as a manager.

"We had a game-plan, the boys carried it out and played brilliantly in every aspect, and we deserved that big time."

Yet West Ham found themselves behind when £17m new boy Gabbiadini rocketed a shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

However, within two minutes Obiang's pass dissected Southampton's defence allowing Carroll to slot in his sixth goal in 12 games. A minute before half-time Robert Snodgrass's corner was headed out to Obiang, who was loitering some 30 yards out. The Spanish midfielder, by no means known for his shooting, sent a low drive through a crowd of players which seemed to deceive Fraser Forster as it crept inside the far post for his first Hammers goal.

West Ham wrapped up the win when Noble swung in a free-kick and Davis stuck out a foot to inadvertently hook the ball past Forster. League Cup finalists Southampton have now lost six of their last seven league matches and a relegation battle is not out of the question.

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