Bilic - It’s a huge disappointment

Slaven Bilic was left gutted as West Ham United slipped out of the Emirates FA Cup - but insists the season is far from over
?Slaven Bilic admitted West Ham United had simply been beaten by the better team on the night as Manchester United burst the Hammers’ Emirates FA Cup bubble.

The last-ever tie at the Boleyn Ground promised a Wembley semi-final, but ended in a deflating 2-1 defeat by Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils.

After a bright start, Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini fired the visitors two goals up. James Tomkins gave West Ham hope before David de Gea made a string of saves to send the visitors through.

“It’s a huge disappointment for us and for me, of course,” the manager told West Ham TV. “The players are gutted in the dressing room, but we have to admit they were the better side for the majority of the game.

“They had the composure. We had the energy, but we didn’t have the quality in the phase of the game when we had the ball. It wasn’t on the top level and that’s why we were really good in the first 15 and last 20 minutes, but apart from that they passed and kept the ball better. They stretched us and they deserved to go through.

“OK we created more than enough chances to equalise and to get the game into extra-time but it wasn’t to be. Their goalkeeper made a few good saves, but overall they were the better side tonight.”
They are disappointed tonight and tomorrow but we have a few days until we face Leicester and we will bounce back
Where West Ham have been literally unbeatable on home turf since last August, on Wednesday they fell two goals behind and finally found a mountain that was too steep to climb.

For the middle 60 minutes of the game, Manchester United snapped into every challenge more strongly and passed the ball more accurately than their hosts, scoring two vital goals in the process.

When asked why that might have been, Bilic was making no excuses.

“OK, first of all I spoke to their staff and they said it was by far the best performance from them in the last few months. They are Manchester United and they are capable of doing that and have done so on a few occasions this season.

“Second of all, I don’t think it has anything to do with the importance of the game and all that. Some players were not on a level and sometimes it’s hard to find a reason. There’s no big reason there, but it is enough at this level to lose that split-second or couple of yards.

“For some players, perhaps the game on Saturday took a lot out of them, but then they had a game on Sunday, so it may happen to them as well.

“It was the small things we were lacking – composure on the ball and without that you can’t play fluently and that’s what happened in our game. We had our phases but we didn’t have our rhythm and their step was much quicker and stronger than ours.”

The season is not over, however, and Bilic has backed his players to lick their wounds and come out strongly as West Ham continue their challenger for a UEFA Europa League place at Leicester City on Sunday.

“No, no, no, the season is not over. We are still in this season big time. Of course it’s a huge disappointment but we have six big games and we’re going to try to finish as high as possible.

“They are disappointed tonight and tomorrow but we have a few days until we face Leicester and we will bounce back.”