Manager on Monday

Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic was pleased with how his West Ham United team overcame Andy Carroll’s absence on Saturday – even if the London Stadium clash with West Bromwich Albion didn’t yield the maximum point haul it deserved.

West Ham had to settle for a point after Gareth McAuley’s last-gasp header wiped out the advantage given to them by Sofiane Fehgouli and Manuel Lanzini, and it was the fact the Hammers hit the net twice which pleased Bilic the most.

Carroll was absent with a minor groin injury – he is expected back for the trip to Watford next up – but West Ham still carried a major threat throughout.

He said: “We got a point, you know, but we didn’t deserve less than three points. It was a great performance, a great comeback, with style. The crowd were enjoying it – it was not just in one dimension, across everything the guys were amazing.

“They did everything that I asked of them and that’s why it’s even more frustrating [not to win].

“Andy is one of those key players for us. We played really good without him, with him it would have been even better.

“But what pleased me is that we don’t depend on one player, we have a team who can compensate when one of the players isn’t playing, even if it Andy Carroll.”

Another player who will be back for the game at Vicarage Road in two Saturdays time is Andre Ayew, who has just returned from Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign which saw them claim fourth place in Equatorial Guinea.

Bilic added: “Andre Ayew came back on Friday. He had a long Africa Cup of Nations – they didn’t play more games than we played here so it’s not physical, but psychologically it means a lot to them and it drained him.

“They were there until the end – they played for third place – so we gave him a few days off and he came back on Friday. That’s why he was not in the squad on Saturday.”