Slaven hails 'brilliant' Farewell win

Slaven Bilic could not hide his pride as West Ham United said goodbye to the Boleyn Ground with a 3-2 victory over Manchester United
Slaven Bilic hailed a ‘brilliant’ Final Game as West Ham United bid Farewell Boleyn with a thrilling 3-2 Barclays Premier League win over Manchester United.

The Hammers went a goal up through Diafra Sakho, missed a succession of chances to extend their lead before half-time, then fell behind to Anthony Martial’s brace, then scored twice in five minutes late on through Michail Antonio and Winston Reid to end 112 years on an amazing high.

Speaking to West Ham TV, Bilic summed up an amazing, breathless, unforgettable evening by praising his team for rising to the biggest of occasions in supreme style.

“It was brilliant,” he began. “It was not a normal, ordinary game like at the end of the season. It was not a normal game even if you add to that that there are two games to go. We are still there for the points.

“It was the last game at this stadium and I mean, don’t get me wrong, I said to the players however this finishes, it’s been a great season. But we didn’t want to lose or not to win at the last game of this fantastic stadium and it’s not easy to do it or to cope with this pressure.

“We didn’t control the emotions, we just channelled them and we rode on them. We started well, scored a goal which helps always, and we were a bit unlucky not to be two goals up at half time.

?“Second half, they came back as they have class but we showed character and we knew all the time that we can hurt them and that’s what we did. It was an amazing farewell to this stadium. The guys that played, the guys on the bench, they deserve to go down in history, big time.”
One might have expected West Ham, on the back of a 4-1 home defeat by Swansea City on Saturday, to fold once Martial had fired Louis van Gaal’s side in front, but instead the hosts found energy levels nobody knew they had.

Antonio rose high into the sky to head in Dimitri Payet’s cross before the Hammer of the Year delivered an inch-perfect 80th-minute free-kick that Reid powered past David de Gea.

In the final analysis, the manager summed his emotions up in one fitting word – pride.

“It was much more than just a game,” Bilic explained. “Ex-players were there; you can say to the players ‘you are professional and play with the pressure’ and a lot of times you shrink and sink but not these guys who showed amazing character and spirit.

“This is like a special night. I didn’t win the Champions League before but I’ve played for West Ham and the Croatia national team and was in the World Cup and I managed them, and I’m Croatian so it can’t be much bigger! But this game comes to there.

“I am so proud of the players because it goes down in history. It’s not just beating Manchester United, it’s the last game in this stadium for the guys. Even the players who are now in heaven, they wanted this to happen and that’s why it’s so great and why I’m so proud.”