Bilic ‘angry’ at start but praises ‘character and spirit’ of West Ham

Date published: Sunday 28th August 2016 6:43

Slaven Bilic: Has plenty on his plate right now

Slaven Bilic: Has plenty on his plate right now

Slaven Bilic took the positives from a spirited performance as West Ham were beaten 2-1 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Raheem Sterling scored twice, including an injury time goal to clinch the three points for City, who move back top of the league.

Bilic was angry with the way his team started the game, but believes they grew into it before City’s class eventually prevailed.

“After we scored the goal it was a different West Ham, the one we wanted. We did not start well and straight away they had a couple of corners and then scored. They were much better in the first half.

“We played well in the second half but the team showed character, spirit and something up front. We have an awful lot of players missing.

“The formation change did not work out. We wanted to close the space and the pockets of chances in the box. They were much quicker and deserved to go 2-0 up. We were closer to them in the second half, winning balls and second balls. After we scored, it gave us hope and we had our moments but they are different class.”

Similar to Guardiola, Bilic claims he did not see Sergio Aguero’s apparent elbow on Winston Reid.

“I did not see the Sergio Aguero incident. We were going to change the centre-half anyway to go four at the back. Winston Reid got a little injured so we took him off.

“To be fair, at half time I was angry about our mentality and character. We showed our quality and you need to show keeping the ball and wanting to hurt them.”

“They were much better in the first half. We knew about their quality on the ball but they were quicker and more aggressive. In the second half we put them under a bit of pressure, the goal helped, but the second half I am more than happy. It gives us hope when the players are out injured.

“We stayed in the game. I wasn’t happy at half time, I asked the guys to show character and spirit and a different mentality which they did. Praise for the team for the second half performance.

“A few will be back after the international break. It should be Lanzini and then Payet. That will of course change the shape of the team and the quality of the team.”

Bilic remained coy on any incoming transfers for the Hammers.

“Not major [transfers] but you never know.”

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