Saturday 24 August 2019

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic rues Romelu Lukaku as striker earns Everton a draw

Romelu Lukaku, right, was the scourge of West Ham again at Upton Park
Romelu Lukaku, right, was the scourge of West Ham again at Upton Park

Slaven Bilic was left to curse one moment of Romelu Lukaku magic after the Everton striker continued his remarkable scoring record against West Ham.

The Hammers are getting utterly sick of the sight of the Belgium striker, who has now scored in each of his last seven appearances against them after a well-taken equaliser secured a 1-1 draw at Upton Park.

And boss Bilic said: "My centre-halves dealt with Lukaku well - apart from for the goal.

"But it was a good game and I'm really happy with the way we played, especially after losing to Watford last week, and because it was in front of our home fans against good team.

"On one hand I'm never happy when we don't win, but we can't be unhappy with the way we played.

"Everton deserved something from the game, although I think we were a bit closer to winning."

However, Bilic faces an anxious wait to learn the extent of ankle injuries to Dimitri Payet - West Ham's stand-out player so far this season - and his replacement Enner Valencia. "They don't look good," he admitted. "But we will wait until after the scans."

Lukaku's latest strike against the Hammers, shortly before half-time, cancelled out Manuel Lanzini's classy opener and meant more frustration for West Ham against the Toffees.

The east London side have won just one of their last 18 encounters against Everton - and that victory came on penalties in the FA Cup third round last season.

Yet West Ham, who won at Liverpool for the first time in 50 years earlier this term, looked on course to break another Merseyside hoodoo when Lanzini fired them into the lead.

Victor Moses' shot ricocheted to the edge of the area and Argentinian Lanzini curled a sublime effort over the Everton defence and into the top corner.

However, Lukaku got his obligatory goal two minutes before half-time, racing on to Gerard Deulofeu's through ball and rounding goalkeeper Adrian.

He could have really stuck the knife in four minutes from time, but prodded Brendan Galloway's low cross inches wide.

"I was delighted with a our reaction after going 1-0 down," said Toffees manager Roberto Martinez.

"The only disappointment was that we couldn't find that little bit of magic to get the winner. I thought Brendan's ball to Lukaku was going to be that moment, but it wasn't to be.

"Lukaku thinks he is going to score against anyone. Obviously the stat of scoring in so many games against West Ham is a coincidence, but what is true is that he is a positive man by nature.

"He's still a young boy, but the way he is developing I always think when he is on the pitch that he is capable of scoring against anyone."

PA Media

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