Bilic praises ‘perfect’ Payet goal, denies dive accusation

Date published: Sunday 13th March 2016 8:20

Slaven Bilic says two crucial decisions went against West Ham but the manager paid tribute to Dimitri Payet’s stunning opener against Manchester United.

The Hammers were denied an FA Cup quarter-final victory at Old Trafford by Anthony Martial’s 83rd-minute equaliser, which cancelled out Payet’s brilliant 35-yard free-kick.

Bilic’s side also felt aggrieved by two refereeing decisions in the second-half, when Louis van Gaal felt Payet had dived in an attempt to win a penalty.

That suggested was dismissed by Bilic.

He said: “A dive? Come on. If you have a screen, show me, I am going to defend my point at Cambridge if needed. There is more than a contact. It is definitely not a dive.”

Bilic also felt his goalkeeper Darren Randolph was fouled by Bastian Schweinsteiger in the build-up to United’s equaliser.

He said: “It was (a foul). I don’t want to spoil the game talking about the referees – overall, he did a good job, but there have been a couple of situations, crucial ones, that have gone against us.”

Bilic admitted it was frustrating to have been so close to victory but not hold on.

He said: “In our dressing room after the game it was kind of silent. We are a little but disappointed because we were there the last few minutes and the time when you conceded makes you a little bit down.

“But that is good. It shows you have confidence and are moving in the right direction.”

As for Payet’s goal, Bilic said: “I said to myself, ‘It was a bit too far, De Gea is there, it has got to be special’, and make no mistake it was pure class of magic. It was a perfect goal.”

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