Slav rues Jekyll and Hyde display


  • Slaven Bilic laments more early defensive lapses in 3-2 defeat by Leicester City
  • Hammers conceded from two set pieces and a soft cross from Riyad Mahrez
  • Second-half fightback comes close to securing a share of the points at London Stadium

Slaven Bilic was left to reflect on another Jekyll and Hyde performance from West Ham United in Saturday’s 3-2 Premier League defeat by Leicester City.

The Hammers conceded two soft goals within the opening seven minutes, got back into the game through Manuel Lanzini’s inch-perfect free-kick, only for another defensive lapse to send them into half-time 3-1 down.

Andre Ayew halved the deficit with half-an-hour remaining, but a combination of profligate finishing and inspired goalkeeping from Kasper Schmeichel made for another frustrating afternoon at London Stadium.

“It is very frustrating for us to lose the game,” said Bilic, whose side fell behind to Riyad Mahrez’s cross and a set piece header from Robert Huth, before Jamie Vardy added a third from a corner. “We didn’t start well and what was really disappointing was the way we conceded three goals, including two very quickly.

“Then we came back and got the goal and had a good spell, but again they scored and got their third goal.  They basically scored their first goal from a cross and two goals from set pieces. We knew they were good in them, but we had to defend them better.

“Then, in the second half, to be fair it was all us. We really deserved something from this game. We created enough chances and we were pressing them really well, so I told the guys that in this game you can’t afford to be 3-1 down and turn the game around.

“They showed quality and they showed character and they created more than enough chances to get a point, but in the second half, it didn’t want to go in, to be fair.”

We didn’t start well and what was really disappointing was the way we conceded three goals, including two very quickly

Slaven Bilic

The final 20 minutes were almost completely one-sided, with West Ham throwing everything at the Leicester goal in search of a leveller.

Carroll’s goalbound header was clawed away by Schmeichel from Ayew’s cross, before the Ghana star shot over the crossbar after being played in by Antonio.

The chances kept on flowing as Cheikhou Kouyate saw his low shot kept out by a goalline clearance from Danny Drinkwater. Then, in added time, Schmeichel made a stupendous stop from Carroll after the ball dropped to him from Snodgrass’s deflected free-kick.

“It was both poor finishing and good goalkeeping, because we expected to score from those positions, and we have to give huge credit to Schmeichel, especially for his last save, because it was a fantastic save,” observed the West Ham manager.

“We showed both sides to our game. The first half, we showed our defending from set pieces, but the second half gives us hope with the performance because we were really good with and without the ball. The only thing that was lacking were goals.”

To add injuries to insult, Bilic also saw Winston Reid and Pedro Obiang forced off with leg injuries, while the manager revealed that a hamstring problem may force Antonio to withdraw from England duty.

“With Winston Reid, it doesn’t look good, but we have to assess him,” he said. “Also Michail unfortunately he probably won’t be able to go to the England squad. It looks like that now. He felt a hamstring and it got worse.

“Pedro twisted his ankle in a challenge but it’s too early to say anything. We have to assess him over the next couple of days. We have the international break now and hopefully they’re going to be fit soon.”