Sunday 28 Aug
Updated Thursday 01 Sep 14:47
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Bilic - We showed spirit

Slaven Bilic was heartened by the fight his West Ham United team showed in the second half at Manchester City on Sunday, even if ultimately their efforts came to nothing as the Citizens’ fast start took them to maximum points.
 
The Hammers were at risk of being overwhelmed when Raheem Sterling and Fernandinho notched inside the first 18 minutes to fire Pep Guardiola’s men into a quickfire two-goal lead.
 
But the visitors took stock at the interval and gave themselves a lifeline when Michail Antonio rose highest at the far post just before the hour.
 
It sparked a better spell from the Hammers and they remained in the game until the very end, when Sterling’s second eventually killed off their comeback.
 
“You can break it down to two halves of football,” Bilic said. “They were much better than us in the first half. They started very well, and not only did they show the quality on the ball which we knew [they had] but they were quicker, more aggressive than us and better on the second balls.

“We gave them way too much space and time on the ball and of course they have plenty of class.
 
“In the second half it changed and of course the goal helped. We put them under a little bit of pressure. They had their chances too, because we were open, but in the second half I was more than happy.
 
“At half time, I wasn’t happy, but I asked the guys to show the character, the spirit, the attitude and mentality which they basically did in the second half.
 
“I have praise for the team for the second half performance. It’s a shame that we conceded the late goal, but it was a good second half as I said. The first wasn’t.
 
“It gives us hope, that when the players who are out injured come back after the international break, that it’s going to be different.”
 
Of those players, the boss revealed that Dimitri Payet and Sofiane Feghouli are closest to a comeback
 
He added: “A few of them will definitely be back after the international break. Lanzini came back today and he’s not injured any more, then it should be Payet, Feghouli, maybe a few others and maybe Carroll.
 
“Of course it’s going to change totally the shape of the team and also the quality.”