Friday 20 April 2018

Bilic misery after Eagles' late leveller

Crystal Palace 2 West Ham 2

West Ham United's Michail Antonio (front) and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (back) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. Photo: John Walton/PA
West Ham United's Michail Antonio (front) and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (back) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park. Photo: John Walton/PA

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Slaven Bilic admits West Ham's draw at Crystal Palace felt like a defeat after Wilfried Zaha scored a 97th-minute equaliser at Selhurst Park.

The Hammers looked on course for a morale-boosting victory when Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew put them two goals in front but Luka Milivojevic's penalty and Zaha's late strike earned Palace a dramatic draw.

Bilic admitted on Tuesday this was another "do-or-die" week for his future as manager and it remains to be seen whether this result, on the back of West Ham's League Cup win over Tottenham in midweek, is enough to save his job.

"To concede like that is a killer. It feels like a defeat," Bilic said. "But it wasn't a defeat. It will be very important for us.

Crystal Palace's Scott Dann (back) and West Ham United's Javier Hernandez battle for the ball during the match at Selhurst Park. Photo: John Walton/PA
Crystal Palace's Scott Dann (back) and West Ham United's Javier Hernandez battle for the ball during the match at Selhurst Park. Photo: John Walton/PA

"They gave everything again, they ran, they defended, some of them played 90 minutes three days ago. I saw them struggling with energy but they wanted to defend, wanted to close them down. We were doing that. It's very, very frustrating."

Bilic felt his side could have prevented Zaha's equaliser. Michail Antonio should have kept the ball in the corner but instead he tried to cross and conceded possession.

"Of course I spoke with him. He knows that now," Bilic said. "He should keep the ball on the line. Do I expect more? Of course but it's a team game. You take the good and the bad."

Palace, meanwhile, avoided defeat in the Premier League for only the second time this season and while Bilic shuffled off shaking his head, Roy Hodgson departed to raucous applause.

"It showed me this team has got more character than maybe sometimes it's been credited with," Hodgson said.

"I'm hoping that will give us a bit of confidence . . . when things are going against us luck-wise, they can still come up and turn it around."

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic gestures on the touchline. Photo: John Walton/PA
West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic gestures on the touchline. Photo: John Walton/PA

West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart made a string of brilliant saves before Zaha finally found the net, and Hodgson felt a draw was the least Palace deserved.

"It was a great goal for Wilf but scant reward overall," he said. "There was no doubt we didn't deserve to be two goals down. With our utter domination, number of times in the penalty area, corner kicks, I think the fact we did get those two goals is nothing more than the team deserved."

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