Slav laments 'unacceptable' penalty

Slaven Bilic claimed West Ham United paid an ‘unacceptable’ penalty as Chelsea scored a late spot-kick to draw 2-2 at Stamford Bridge
Slaven Bilic claimed West Ham United paid an ‘unacceptable’ penalty as a late Chelsea spot-kick prevented his team from scoring a famous win at Stamford Bridge.

The Hammers were ahead 2-1 through substitute Andy Carroll’s fine finish when Ruben Loftus-Cheek went down under a questionable Michail Antonio challenge a foot or two outside the West Ham penalty area, only for referee Robert Madley to award a penalty.

Cesc Fabregas, who had earlier equalised Manuel Lanzini’s exquisite opener with a free-kick on the stroke of half-time, stepped up and sent Adrian the wrong way with a minute of the 90 remaining – leaving Bilic feeling rather hard done by.

“It was a great game of football and for Chelsea and West Ham fans and the neutrals, it was a privilege to be part of this game for the people who watched it live, I am sure they enjoyed it,” he began.

“I have nothing but praise for our players, they did fantastically and we are gutted because we deserved to win this game and also because of their equaliser.

“Chelsea have great players, of course, and they are capable of scoring goals and maybe they could have scored before when it was 1-1 and all that, so given the time we conceded the goals so late, you would be gutted anyway, but when you concede from a penalty that wasn’t a penalty it makes it really hard and unacceptable. We didn’t deserve it.”

After Lanzini’s 25-yard curler opened the scoring, Carroll emerged on the hour-mark and gave John Terry and Gary Cahill nightmares with his power and aggression.

The No9 scored within 90 seconds of his entrance, then saw two headers cleared off the line as West Ham went within a whisker of making the game all but safe.

As it was, those spurned opportunities came back to haunt them late on.
When you concede from a penalty that wasn’t a penalty it makes it really hard and unacceptable
“On the one hand we were missing that kind of luck and extra quality because when it was 1-0 and 2-1 we were close to being two up, either at 2-0 or 3-1, and I was expecting us to score,” Bilic continued.

“OK, we could have killed the game off, but it wasn’t a penalty and it’s so clear. We are not getting those decisions.

“We are not thinking about ‘Are we fourth? Are fifth?’ but thank God we are not fighting relegation. We are only thinking about this 90 minutes and we didn’t deserve to concede a second goal like that.

“It was nowhere near the [penalty area] line. It was obvious. It was easy because it wasn’t like he slid inside. It was way out of the line.

“It wasn’t the sort of game where I want to be moaning because I want to be talking about football, but this is the second week in a row.

“The Chairman emailed me a few days ago to say we have had four penalties in four years! That’s a record!”

While his frustration was there for all to see, the manager was full of praise for his team after breaking the 50-point barrier in the Premier League for the first time in more than a decade.

With an international break to recharge and refocus, West Ham will go into their final eight matches with a UEFA Champions League place still within their grasp.

“We are playing good and we are a good team,” he explained. “We have momentum and character and are defending with numbers and passion. When we have the ball, we are calm and we have pace and quality up front.

“It’s great to work with this team.”