Tuesday 24 April 2018

Bilic salutes Hammers in defeat

Southampton 3 West Ham United 2

Southampton’s Charlie Austin Photo: PA
Southampton’s Charlie Austin Photo: PA

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Slaven Bilic praised West Ham's spirit after their resilient display in the defeat at Southampton, despite being "gutted" a stoppage-time penalty cost a point.

The Hammers are bottom of the league having lost 4-0 in their opening fixture of the season at Manchester United, but while down to 10 men had impressively fought back from 2-0 down to almost draw at St Mary's.

Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United reacts to giving a penalty away Photo: Getty
Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United reacts to giving a penalty away Photo: Getty

Marko Arnautovic's first-half red card for an elbow on Jack Stephens left them a man down from the 33rd minute, by which point Manolo Gabbiadini had already given Southampton the lead.

While Dusan Tadic's 38th-minute penalty appeared to take a positive result beyond them, Javier Hernandez's first two goals for the club demonstrated Bilic's team yet retain promise.

It was Charlie Austin, in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, who scored beyond Joe Hart from the penalty spot after Pablo Zabaleta and Jose Fonte had brought down Maya Yoshida, but Bilic said: "We lost a point but gained a lot of things after the Manchester United game.

"Great team spirit; character; we didn't give up, and showed quality to play with 10 men for such a long period of time. It's extremely hard, especially when you're one down.

Javier Hernandez of West Ham United celebrates scoring his sides second goal Photo: Getty
Javier Hernandez of West Ham United celebrates scoring his sides second goal Photo: Getty

"We spoke at half-time and they responded in the best possible way. I'm gutted, but we gained a lot of things.

"Yes, of course [Arnautovic apologised]. It's hard to play with 10 men for such a long period of time."

Sunday Indo Sport

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