Slav - We fully deserved it

  • Slaven Bilic hails his West Ham United team after 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at London Stadium
  • Hammers up to ninth in Premier League table after extending unbeaten run to five matches
  • Victory ensured West Ham's safety and also badly damaged Spurs' title hopes

It happened again for Slaven Bilic as his West Ham United side severely dented Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League title challenge for the second season in succession.

The manager was brimming with pride after Manuel Lanzini’s second-half goal completed the greatest night in London Stadium’s short but eventful history.

With a 54,000-strong Claret and Blue Army roaring them on, the Hammers soaked up everything Spurs could throw at them, and could arguably have won more comfortably had Hugo Lloris not saved superbly from Jonathan Calleri and Ashley Fletcher.

“We played against a great team, a team in form, a team which had won nine out of nine and all that, but we deserved it,” said the manager, whose team are up to ninth in the table. “We defended with numbers and we did exactly what we wanted them to do, but it’s the players who done it on the pitch.

“Apart from that situation in the first half, when they had three chances from one attack, they didn’t hurt us really and we defended great.

“Also in the second half we were taking the ball out to them and the goal helped us, of course. Then after the goal they lost a bit of composure because one goal was not enough for them, as they needed to score two.

“They lost a bit of calmness that they had and the goal helped us to gain confidence. After the goal, we had many, many situations, not just Calleri’s chance, but situations when we were one-on-one against the defender, but unfortunately we didn’t score.

“There was always a chance we were going to concede because they were throwing bodies up front and putting strikers on, but we were magnificent and we fully deserved it.”

We played against a great team, a team in form, a team which had won nine out of nine and all that, but we deserved it

Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic
Bilic was asked if ‘character’ was the most important trait shown by his players in beating a Tottenham team which arrived on a run of nine straight wins.

While the manager agreed the mental strength shown by the Hammers was important, he also pointed to their ability to stick to a tactical plan and create clear chances against a previously very solid Spurs defence.

“First of all, starting with the skipper Mark Noble, who was tremendous, then the goalkeeper and back three and the line of four in front of them protecting them and stopping the passes getting through to [Dele] Alli and [Christian] Eriksen. Then we had Calleri up front who was, in the second half, brilliant.

“It was character, of course, determination and character, but you can’t win against a good team like them with only character. You need quality as well and we had good patterns.

“We beat them last year with the same system, and in the game earlier this season at White Hart Lane, although we lost it 3-2 when were leading 2-1 with two or three minutes to go, it was also the system we used to stop them.

“Tonight was not a night for egos, and we showed collectively what West Ham United is all about.”