Bilic - We showed our character

  • Boss hails 'important win' for the Hammers
  • Mark Noble's goal in first half stoppage time proved enough to see off Burnley
  • Hammers boss impressed with character shown by his team

Slaven Bilic hailed Wednesday night’s 1-0 win against Burnley as an important victory for his side, as they ended a run of six games without maximum points thanks to Mark Noble’s first half goal.

The skipper scored right at the end of the opening period, following up after his penalty was saved by Clarets keeper Tom Heaton, and Bilic was relieved to claim victory at London Stadium.

The three points took West Ham above Middlesbrough and up to 16th in the Premier League table, building on the draw gained at Anfield at the weekend.

Bilic felt the result was one his team merited for a first half which should have yielded more than the one goal.

He explained: “It was an important win for us, considering the situation we were in and the fact this game was being talked about for a long time, because we knew what schedule we had before.

“To be fair, it [felt like it] was a long game, one of the longest that I’ve been involved in, but it wasn’t for the players. We got three points, we showed the character and all that, and I think we deserved it for the way we played in the first half, when we were absolutely dominant.

“We hit the post a couple of times, had so many shots, had two penalty appeals – got one, and scored from it – and it was really good.

“We should have been in front by more than one goal, based on the quantity of the attacks we had.

“Then, in the second half, you expect when you’re in the position we are that you could be a little bit afraid that you’re going to concede a goal. We warned the players there’s no reason to feel like that, let’s play in the second half like we did the first.

“Okay, we knew they were going to throw bodies up front, and have free-kicks and set-pieces, but I expected us to be better on the ball and kill them when they opened up.

“We didn’t do that, they had a couple of chances through the physical presence they had, but we defended well.  They had one good chance that they missed, but then we missed a few in the first half.

“That cramp, I’d call it, that we are feeling at the moment – that is quite normal considering the situation we’re in – should go. The only way it goes is if you are moving up the table. We’ve moved a little bit, and hopefully we will move a couple bits more to get rid of the cramp more.”