Bilic praises supporters after massive victory


  • Slaven Bilic praised the supporters for driving his team to victory against Swansea City on Saturday
  • Cheikhou Kouyate grabbed the game’s only goal just before half time with a superb strike from the edge of the box
  • The boss also expressed just how much the three points meant to him personally

A delighted Slaven Bilic praised the West Ham United supporters as they drove his team to victory over Swansea City at London Stadium on Saturday.

The win, sealed by Cheikhou Kouyate’s 44th-minute belter from the edge of the box, saw the Hammers end a run of seven games without a win and move eight points clear of the bottom three in the Premier League.

And the Hammers manager’s delight – as well as relief – was clear to see at the final whistle.

He said: “We are delighted. The pressure the players were under – forget me, they are the ones who perform in front of nearly 60,000 – they gave everything and that’s why I’m very pleased.

“The crowd were right behind us. We knew they were going to be from the start but we kept them behind us for 90 minutes because they recognised everything we gave. They were so important.

“Of course, we put ourselves in the situation to be under this kind of pressure, but to win with a clean sheet is very important. It was solid and it was a team performance. The players who came off from the bench did a good job.

“It was a good day for us, especially when it’s well deserved. It opens the gap from them to us even bigger, and it’s really good.”

Kouyate’s goal, which saw London Stadium erupt just before the break, was the Senegal international’s first in the league this season.

The crowd were right behind us. We knew they were going to be from the start but we kept them behind us for 90 minutes because they recognised everything we gave. 

Slaven Bilic

Kouyate's winner sent London Stadium into raptures

And the boss admitted he was a little surprised to see the midfielder on the scoresheet.

“It was a great goal,” the Croatian continued. “We talk about an individual goal, but we all wanted it when we got it in that dangerous area.

“We started the game well and had a couple of opportunities but then that goal was a little unexpected from Cheikhou! No, it was a great goal.

“We knew they would be dangerous but then space would open and that’s why we made changes from the bench and all three players that came on did their jobs well.

“Unfortunately for us, Michail’s injury came out the blue. We we have to stay positive. Calleri came on and did really good. Andy Carroll will be almost definitely fit for the next game, and Michail is like superman – he’s always ahead of schedule. I expect he’ll be back very soon.”

After a difficult few weeks, culminating in Wednesday’s defeat at Arsenal, there was a huge sigh of relief breathed around London Stadium on Saturday, a feeling the gaffer shared.

“To me personally, it means everything. I’m relaxed about my job though and I’m just pleased with everything the boys did.

“It’s about the Club and the players. We are the ones to blame to be in this situation and my celebration was more towards the players than me. They deserved it. There’s no stopping now. We need as many points as we can get.

“It’s still a big job for us to do. We need 40 points as soon as possible, and I told the players that. That’s the minimum goal. It’s going to be hard of course, but if we concentrate like this, it’s very possible and we have a chance against any team.”