Slaven Bilic felt a mixture of pride, anger and disappointment after his ten-man West Ham United side conceded late to draw 1-1 at Burnley.
The Hammers looked on course for a first away Premier League win of the season when Michail Antonio scored after 19 minutes at Turf Moor, only for Andy Carroll to be sent-off for two bookable offences in the space of 100 seconds a short time later.
The manager admitted to being frustrated with his centre forward, who was shown two yellow cards by referee Stuart Attwell after catching Burnley centre-backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee in the head with his arm.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, West Ham defended resolutely and even created chances of their own to add a second goal, only for Chris Wood to head home Johan Berg Gudmundsson’s right-wing cross with just five minutes of the 90 remaining.
I’ve got mixed emotions. I’m proud of the team and how we played
“I’ve got mixed emotions,” Bilic told the press. “I’m proud of the team and how we played. When we were eleven against eleven, we were passing the ball and created a lot.
“We scored the goal and we had the momentum but then that momentum was ruined or stopped by that couple of bookings in the space of two minutes which, for a player of Andy’s experience and everything, basically you can’t do that.
“It wasn’t deliberate, but you can’t do that very early in a game and that was of course a big blow for us, although we defended well until half-time.
“We wanted to put on extra legs with Pedro Obiang in the midfield with Manu Lanzini on the left side and to try to get the ball and create when we had the chance. Then we looked really good in the first 15 minutes of the second half and had two really good chances to score a goal which would have given us extra strength.
“But it’s very hard to stop an opponent for a long time who has an extra player getting in the position to put a good ball in or to shoot from 25 yards. We coped really well with those crosses, because they had bodies up front and we had bodies in our box, apart from that one good cross that we should have stopped because we had it two against one [out wide].
“Then again they had bodies in the box and put in a lot of crosses and we defended 95 per cent of them really well but it wasn’t enough to get three points.
“When it happens really late in the game, you have those mixed emotions that you don’t value this performance and this point as you would normally, or as it normally deserves to be. Because if it had stayed 1-0 it would have been heroic, but still one moment doesn’t make it less heroic, as it’s not easy to play with ten.”
Bilic was asked repeatedly about Carroll’s actions – for his reaction, whether he had spoken to the striker and what action he planned to take against him – but preferred to concentrate his answers on the incidents themselves, rather than any potential fallout.
“I’m very frustrated and very angry,” he admitted. “I have not spoken to Andy yet and I don’t think about that [any punishment] now.
“I said that I’m very disappointed, not with the referee’s decision because it was [correct]. The first one can happen, but the second one cannot happen, especially when you play away, then you are asking for trouble.
“I didn’t speak with him at half-time, as I was concentrating on what to do in the game. I didn’t see the challenge [from Tarkowski which left Carroll complaining moments before his bookings]. I only saw his couple of bookings.
“It is extremely frustrating. What can I do? He is a very brave player and not a lazy player, he is a player who is committing himself and that’s his virtue and is a big part of his game.
“[For the second booking], he wants to win all the balls in his space and it was just an unbelievably bad decision to even go there.”
The first one can happen, but the second one cannot happen, especially when you play away, then you are asking for trouble
Bilic also conceded that his side could have had a penalty awarded against them when Joe Hart challenged Wood inside his area shortly after Carroll’s dismissal.
The England goalkeeper, who was otherwise exemplary, appeared to get ball and man, and referee Attwell opted to give a corner rather than a spot-kick – a decision the Hammers boss agreed with.
“To be fair, I’ve seen that incident and if we were in that situation, make no mistake, I would expect a penalty but it wasn’t like a blatant one because Joe didn’t put his arms there and the ball went out sideways.
“I think Joe touched the ball and it was also after the red card and you can’t give them all. It wasn’t a blatant penalty, so you can’t give every decision.”