Are West Ham back to square one after second Man City mauling?
PUBLISHED: 15:32 02 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:33 02 February 2017
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Hammers boss Slaven Bilic left crestfallen by four-goal defeat
After the excellent victories over Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough there was a real sense of optimism in the air for Wednesday’s game against Manchester City.
There was a big crowd, two new signings and fallen hero Dimitri Payet seemingly erased from the West Ham history. But within 45 minutes all that had evaporated.
There was a sense of deja vu in the air as City took advantage of silly Hammers mistakes and the wide expanses of the London Stadium to stroll to another 3-0 half-time lead.
And so after this 4-0 defeat – West Ham doing one better than the FA Cup game last month – it was a sullen Slaven Bilic who came out to meet the press afterwards.
He had spent a couple of days in hospital with flu after the Boro game and it looked like he may have wished he was still there.
“It is hard to find positive things from this game to be fair,” he lamented. “It was well deserved from City, we have to give them credit, but we helped them.
“It sounds crazy, but we started well, we didn’t have that many problems when they had the ball, but when we had it, instead of using the space against their high line, we tried to play square balls.”
They did and paid for it. First Aaron Cresswell gave it away in midfield which cost a goal; then Sam Byram was roasted by Leroy Sane for the second and then Pedro Obiang lost it for the third.
“At 3-0 you are hoping to turn the game around, but it’s basically mission impossible,” said the crestfallen manager.
“We are down. Some people say that these kinds of games are like bonus matches, but I didn’t see it like that.
“I know they have so much quality, but I expected to get something out of this game.”
Maybe he did, but when you make so many mistakes against a team like City you simply have no chance.
Twice City have come and conquered, Arsenal did the same, and though Bilic insisted that it was nothing to do with the wide expanses of the London Stadium pitch, when you are playing against fast attackers with such great movement, it has to play a part.
So did the manager lay into his players after the game? It seems he didn’t.
“We just shook hands,” he said. “I am not a big fan of analysing a game in the heat of the moment, it is better to do it the day after.”
We may be clutching at straws here, but you always have to try and consider the positives after such a horrendous defeat.
“It is a very heavy defeat for us and not the first this season,” reflected Bilic.
“But after every one of them, we have bounced back.
“We did after Arsenal and we did after City in the FA Cup, so we have to do it again. The good thing about football is that we have an opportunity to put it right in a few days time.”
Maybe, but I don’t think Southampton will be too worried.
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