Manager on Monday


Slaven Bilic said a change in plan was the key behind Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Hull City.

The boss saw the visitors hit West Ham woodwork on three occasions as he team rode their luck en route to the three points, but was happy with how the players responded to his half-time words.

Skipper Mark Noble scored the only goal of the game from the spot with 14 minutes left to play and Bilic was thrilled to take the points tally for the week to seven.

That lifted the Hammers up to 13th in the Premier League table ahead of the festive fixtures, meaning the manager will be able to enjoy his Christmas after a tough period.

He explained: “The first half on Saturday wasn’t good and I told the players at half time that we have three good things – first, the result; second, it can’t be much worse than this; and third, they think they’re going to win it and we knew we had a great space to change those three things.

“We changed the system, changed a couple of players, and we showed a better composure, better everything. After ten minutes we started to play the way I like – we were pressing up and from the quantity of attacks the goal happened.

“After the goal we were never really under big pressure from them, and on the contrary we had a couple of opportunities to score a second one.

“We won the game because we showed a good reaction to the first half [performance].”

Michail Antonio

One of those half-time changes was to push Michail Antonio up front alongside Andy Carroll, and with the No30 winning the decisive penalty the manager paid tribute to his versatility.

He added: “When it’s not going well you are trying to find something and you see Andy Carroll is doing everything. He is winning the balls and all that, but he looks isolated and you think we will be much better if we can get someone who has good runs around him.

“That’s Michail Antonio, of course. You miss him a bit on the sides, because he can also make a cross, but we opted to have that type of combination to work them.

“Basically, you could see after ten minutes of the second half when Antonio had a couple of sprints, that it lifted everybody up. The crowd was up and we started to play much better.”