Thursday 22 March 2018

Slaven Bilic praises West Ham after draw with Norwich

Slaven Bilic's side equalised late on
Slaven Bilic's side equalised late on

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic praised the way his side battled to the final whistle after midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate rescued a point with a stoppage-time equaliser in a thrilling 2-2 draw against Norwich at Upton Park.

The Irons, who had won at Manchester City last weekend, were seconds away from another home defeat against one of the promoted sides before Kouyate lashed home after a free-kick caused havoc in the six-yard box.

Robbie Brady had fired the Canaries into the lead, before the Irons levelled through Diafra Sakho.

Substitute Nathan Redmond looked to have given Norwich a first win at the Boleyn Ground in 26 years with a fine late effort, only for Kouyate's grandstand finale.

"I would like to congratulate both teams for a good dramatic game of football," Bilic said.

"It was a quality, typically English game, but one where we would both have been happy with some things and not with some other things with spells in the match.

"Their keeper had made a couple of great saves in the second half, then when I thought we were going to score, they started to play very dangerously.

"After they scored, again it was all us, until we equalised.

"In the end, it was fair result, but we are never happy when we don't win at home. We are trying to win every home game.

"I am proud of the players because with this point, my players have showed their character and their quality."

Bilic believes sustained workrate for his squad will be the key to progress this season.

"All of the teams at home we have dropped points against play on reaction, are at the second balls and are very disciplined, very energetic, which is how they build their teams," he said.

"Only when you match them in that part of the game, then you are better than them on the pitch - the question is can you do it for 90 minutes? If you don't, then you are in trouble."

Norwich have acquitted themselves well since their return to the top flight via the play-offs, also securing a point at Liverpool last Sunday.

Canaries boss Alex Neil believes the Norfolk club have shown they have what it takes to compete again at this level.

"I was really pleased with the lads, but of course when you concede with just a minute to go you are going to be really disappointed," he said.

"We came here and played against a really good side, where we more than matched them over the 90 minutes.

"When you look at the game as a whole, I am really pleased with the players because this is a difficult place to come, we showed composure and I thought we played some really good stuff.

"The fact we are disappointed not to have come away with the win after taking a point shows our progress."

Press Association

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