Bilic - We were simply the better team

Slaven Bilic has no doubts that West Ham deserved to finish the season with a victory and is disappointed to miss out on a top six finish

Slaven Bilic has no doubts that West Ham deserved to finish the season with a victory and is disappointed that his team missed out on a top six finish.

The Hammers manager felt his side dominated the game at the Britannia Stadium and should have been celebrating another victory which would have guaranteed European football next season.

After Michail Antonio fired West Ham into the lead, the away side had a number of chances to extend their lead and were millimetres from adding a second when Cheikhou Kouyate's shot was cleared off the line by Glenn Whelan.

But despite having 20 shots in total, the Hammers were made to pay for their missed opportunities when Stoke scored a dramatic late winner to secure all three points.

The Hammers can still qualify for the Europa League next season if Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final next weekend and Bilic says it will be just rewards after a memorable campaign.

Bilic said: “No matter if we are going for sixth place we have to win this kind of game. From the way we played we deserved to get something.

“We were simply the better team and after we went one goal in front it should have been two or three.

“We had big chances and then they equalised but we could have scored after that. How many times have you seen this in football that if you don't score the other team goes and gets something and it was one of those games.

“I am very disappointed because we lost sixth place but on the other hand I can't be negative when we have played like this.

“When Cheikhou had that shot off the line you were just waiting for someone to blow the ball over the line but it didn't! We are gutted because we deserved to finish the season with a win because we were the better team than Stoke.

“If Manchester United beat Palace we will still qualify and hopefully they are going to do it.

Despite the defeat, Bilic is still proud of the job his players have achieved and feels it has been a memorable campaign in the final ever season at the Boleyn Ground.

Bilic added: “It has been a great season. Apart from Leicester we have been praised the whole season and this has been very important for us with the last year at the Boleyn Ground.

“We are now moving into the new Stadium and we should be very proud. We have a new adventure and I told the guys to rest and have a good six weeks.

“Some of the boys will go to the Euros but we will then start again and hopefully have the same pattern.”