West Ham boss Bilic hails ‘outstanding’ Collins

Date published: Saturday 26th December 2015 6:52

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Slaven Bilic lauded West Ham defender James Collins after Welshman starred in the draw at Aston Villa.

The centre-back signed a new two-and-a-half year contract on Thursday and was his side’s outstanding player in Boxing Day’s 1-1 draw.

Collins cleared Alan Hutton’s header off the line in the second half as the Hammers hung on for a point – their fifth straight Barclays Premier League draw.

Aaron Cresswell had fired them ahead only for Jordan Ayew’s penalty to level, but Bilic believes Collins, who re-joined West Ham from Villa in 2012, showed why he deserved a new deal.

“He was again outstanding. He is in good form. It’s not just today, it’s ever since I came here,” he said.

“At the beginning he didn’t play a lot, but every time he’s played he is not only reliable, he has been magnificent. It’s great to have him. We decided to offer him a new contract way before and he deserves it.

“He’s a good player and I watch him in training every day and he’s good on the ball. It’s not just kicking the ball around. His presence is a very dominant one.

“I wouldn’t call those players old-fashioned, he’s just a really good centre-half.”

But the Hammers chief was unhappy at Mike Dean’s decision to give Villa a penalty after Rudy Gestede went down under Angelo Ogbonna’s 62nd-minute challenge.

Bilic also felt the Hammers should have had two spot-kicks of their own for handballs against Leandro Bacuna and Ashley Westwood.

“I’m West Ham manager and I’m not objective, but I’m trying to be,” said Bilic. “When it happened I saw Ogbonna in front of Gestede and Gestede came in front not because he was quicker, but because he pulled his shirt. It was long enough for the referee to notice.

“After that we had a couple of situations with handballs which, considering that penalty, these ones should have been given to us.”


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