Slaven Bilic insists West Ham would not have triumphed without Simone Zaza’s contribution at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Summer signing Zaza is yet to score for the Hammers since joining the club from Juventus towards the end of the transfer window but the striker gave an industrious display to lead from the front as Bilic’s side claimed a 1-0 win against their London rivals.
Zaza had been linked with an early exit from the London Stadium, but Bilic was quick to heap praise upon the 25-year-old.
“He was different class,” Bilic said. “I told him after the game that this is the Zaza I know from Sassuolo and Juventus.
“The goals will come, the goals are very important for the strikers but I want to see him like this.
“I told him after the game, ‘Zaza, tonight you won more balls in the air against two centre halves than you did in four or five games so far.’
“Without him we wouldn’t have won, it’s as simple as that.”