Slaven Bilic has told BBC Sport that he “never stopped believing” in his side during their five match winless run at the start of the campaign before the Hammers turned things around at Selhurst Park with a hard fought victory on Saturday evening thanks to a Manuel Lanzini strike.
Bilic implemented a new system, using three central defenders and two wing-backs, which proved to be a real hit as it gave his team the victory over former manager Alan Pardew in a London derby.
The Croatian manager also praised forward Simone Zaza, insisting that he played a vital role in the win as he told the Daily Mail:
“He was different class. I told him after the game that this is the Zaza I know from Sassuolo and Juventus. The goals will come, the goals are very important for the strikers but I want to see him like this. I told him after the game, ‘Zaza, tonight you won more balls in the air against two centre halves than you did in four or five games so far. Without him we wouldn’t have won, it’s as simple as that.”
The Italian will have to continue to show such signs of improvement if he is to clear up his long term future at the club after speculation persisted over the weekend that he could head back to Italy to Napoli or to Spain to join Valencia with the Irons reluctant to pay the £17 million required to make the signing of the Juventus striker a permanent deal in January.
He could soon face competition from another summer signing as Shoot magazine claim that Domingos Quina’s impressive displays for the under 23s could soon earn him an opportunity with the first team. Signed from Chelsea and previously with Benfica, the 16-year-old spent much of pre-season with Bilic’s first team and has continued to impress.
With a number of eye-catching strikers and impressive displays, Quina could soon be taking up a place on the bench to offer an alternative to Zaza with Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew both still out injured.
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