Bilic frustrated by Chelsea defeat

  • Slaven Bilic left frustrated as Chelsea net 89th-minute winner at Stamford Bridge
  • West Ham had fought back from a goal down through James Collins' equaliser
  • Diego Costa netted late winner after escaping second yellow card for foul on Adrian

Slaven Bilic was in philosophical mood after his West Ham United side were controversially beaten in their Premier League opener at Chelsea.

The Hammers manager admitted his injury-depleted team were not at their best at Stamford Bridge, but James Collins’ smart second-half strike looked set to earn them a hard-earned point.

Eden Hazard – arguably the best player on the pitch – had put Chelsea ahead from the penalty spot 90 minutes after half-time, and there was no disputing that the Blues played the more enterprising football. However, West Ham stuck to their task and were left feeling hard done by.

With a minute of normal time remaining, Diego Costa struck an agonising winner – but not before the Brazilian had been booked and then escaped further punishment when he brought down Adrian with a nasty-looking lunge.

“It’s the first game of the season and we are already talking about those kind of decisions,” said Bilic. “From our point of view, of course we are not happy with it.

“I saw the incident again and I don’t think it was reckless. It definitely wasn’t a reckless one and it wasn’t deliberate in my opinion, but it was, late very late.

“Nine times out of ten, when you see that challenge on a goalkeeper he ends up with a booking, but unfortunately this was the tenth time! Really, though, I am more disappointed with the late goal than the incident with Costa.”


Nine times out of ten, when you see that challenge on a goalkeeper he ends up with a booking, but unfortunately this was the tenth time!
Slaven Bilic


Bilic was asked repeatedly about his view on Costa’s non-red card, but insisted he was more concerned about his side’s own difficulty in imposing themselves on the game than referee Anthony Taylor’s decision not to send the Chelsea striker for an early bath.

“Of course when you concede so late in the first game it leaves you disappointed and is a big frustration for us,” Bilic continued. “We were so close against a top side on their ground, but they deserved it.

“We were so close and we thought that’s it, but let’s be honest, apart from the first 15 minutes and from the time we equalised, they were better than us. They didn’t create many chances, but we gave them the penalty from our ball possession and the second goal was like that as we had the ball totally under our control in the middle of the park.

“They were much more aggressive than us, they were there and winning the second balls and, on top of that, they have players like Hazard who were on form and on fire. You have to admit they were better than us.

“From the moment we equalised and from there we were in control of the game as they lost their shape and changed their system and were playing long balls, which I expected us to cope with a little bit better, but then they scored a good goal.”

To add injuries to the insult of conceding so late, Bilic also lost record signing Andre Ayew to a thigh injury in the first half, while winger Sofiane Feghouli was not involved after suffering a hamstring problem.

“Ayew has a thigh injury,” he confirmed. “He told me it is not a big one, but you never know and he will have a scan on Tuesday and we have to wait for the result of the scan to know how long he will be out.

“Feghouli picked up something against Juventus which we didn't think was an injury and he trained for a week, but he missed tonight because he is injured.”

Bilic and his wounded squad will need to regroup quickly, as the Hammers travel to Romania on Wednesday for a UEFA Europa League play-off round first-leg tie with Astra Giurgiu on Thursday evening.