Nikola reminded of Croatian stars

Assistant manager Nikola Jurcevic says Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini remind him of Croatia greats Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki
Nikola Jurcevic says West Ham United playmakers Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini remind him of Croatia legends Zvonimir Boban and Robert Prosinecki.

The Hammers assistant manager – and manager Slaven Bilic – played alongside attacking midfielders Boban and Prosinecki at Euro 96, where the Blazers reached the quarter-finals and impressed hugely with their flair and creativity.

Boban spent eleven seasons with AC Milan, winning four Serie A titles and the UEFA Champions League, while Prosinecki played for Real Madrid and Barcelona and won six league titles with Red Star Belgrade and Dinamo Zagreb.

Twenty years later and Jurcevic can see a lot of his former teammates – as well as current Croatia stars Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic – in Payet and Lanzini, who have played a huge part in firing West Ham into the Barclays Premier League’s top four.

“Sometimes when I have spoken with Slaven or when I talk with my friends, I make some comparisons with players from before like Boban or Prosinecki, or for example players now like Modric and Rakitic,” he told West Ham TV. “We also have those type of players in Payet and Lanzini.”
While the attacking duo have caught the eye during the Hammers’ bright start to the 2015/16 campaign, Jurcevic added that it has been a full squad effort to climb into third place after ten league matches.

“Sometimes we spoke about one or two players, but we must speak also about more players, because sometimes in the game we make some fantastic shots through Zarate, for example, who scored an important goal on Saturday,” he continued.

“I think now we have a good situation in the team because we have some players who are more for defending like Collins or Tomkins, or we have team players like Jenkinson or Cresswell, or midfielders like Mark Noble and Kouyate who are really important for our team.

“OK, I understand in every team, everybody speaks more about players who are more offensive or more creative, but I think everything our team has done until now is for all the players.”