As the Hammers picked up their first three points since victory over Bournemouth in August, Slaven Bilic revealed that he was confident the win would come, saying:
“Tonight showed everything – confidence, composure, team spirit and quality on the ball. It was not about the system. It was about how we focused from the beginning until the end. It’s a good performance. We had lost confidence a little but, but now it came back and we can’t let it go. This has to be our way forward.”
Manuel Lanzini’s strike made the difference, though the blow for the Irons was the red card to man of the match Aaron Cresswell on his return from injury. Whilst Bilic did not agree with the decision to send off his full back on his return from injury, he refused to criticise his man and believed that the referee made the wrong call.
One of the key storylines of the game was the first time that James Tomkins has come up against the club. Writing before the game in the Evening Standard, Slaven Bilic revealed that a lack of first team football was the reason he left his boyhood club in the summer:
“I also expect James Tomkins to line up against us and I know some supporters have said it was a mistake to let him go in the summer… James is a great lad, bred at the club and he didn’t really want to go. He and I spoke about things last season, where he played in a few different positions and I rate him as a player. He wasn’t a whole season regular in the team, though… I couldn’t guarantee he would play week in and week out. He only wanted to leave the club for that reason — and no other.”
Tomkins was on the losing side at Selhurst Park despite a number of fans seeing his sale as a mistake by the club. However, Palace have had the better start to the season and only time will tell if he made the right move.
Bilic also revealed in a press conference, quoted in the Guardian, that an investigation into his players going on a night out is still ongoing with no decision made as yet:
“It’s still not over. It is an old story and it is not very important now. It is not done yet. It is not easy, I can’t do the investigation because it didn’t happen on the pitch. I’m going to react but it isn’t done and I don’t think about that at the moment, I am thinking about our next game. I can only repeat what I said before, it was my decision. If they stepped out of the line of the rules of our club, they will be punished.”
After yesterday’s result, the pressure has lifted on the Croatian manager, but he must keep getting results if he is to convince bosses that he should remain at the club long term.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Craig Ballantyne.