West Ham manager has hit out at referee Mike Dean after he sent off Sofiane Feghouli for what was seemingly a 50/50 challenge against Manchester United last night, and then allowed an offside Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike to stand. Bilic said:
“I was very surprised. You know me, I’m the first one who says [referees] have a difficult job, and every time we look at a slow motion I go: ‘Yeah, they don’t have that in real time.’ But I said it then – I wouldn’t have been happy with a yellow. I said it to the fourth official and to [José] Mourinho, it’s not a yellow. If it was yellow I’d be asking: ‘Why a yellow so early in the game for basically nothing?’ And you have to know it’s Feghouli – he very rarely makes a foul. After the game, when I saw it, it gave me proof that I’m right. The more times I’ve seen it, it’s the other way round. It was Jones who made a more dangerous tackle than Feghouli, like a scissor. He got the ball, OK, but that was dangerous. Maybe his reaction was to save himself, but definitely not a red card.”
The red card changed the game in favour of United, who went on to win the tie courtesy of a strike from Juan Mata before Ibrahimovic controversially added a second.
However, there could be greater concerns as various sources in France, including La Provenance, claim that Marseille are desperate to land playmaker Dimitri Payet and are already establishing contact to try to put a move in motion for the Frenchman to take him back to his former club.
The free-kick specialist has hinted at doubts over his future as a Hammer several times after a poor start to the season, but the club would be hoping to keep hold of him and would demand a huge fee to persuade them to sell.
Slaven Bilic has reacted by claiming that Payet is not considering a departure as he revealed:
“If you’re moving up and moving forward, we want to keep our best players and he’s our best player. We want to keep him. I don’t want to talk about the rumours.”
Bilic will be aware of just how difficult that task could be, particularly with it highly likely that the Irons will not be able to offer European football next season, but he appears to be remaining hopeful.
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