West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic says his team deserved nothing less than maximum points against 10-men Aston Villa on Tuesday (February 2).
Villa dominated the first 15 minutes but when striker Jordan Ayew elbowed West Ham left back Aaron Cresswell in the face and was sent-off, the dynamic changed.
Bilic said: “It was the turning point. I was confident we would win the game anyway even though before the game Villa were playing well. I didn’t see the red card as I was looking in a totally different direction – but seconds later I knew what had happened and it was the decisive point in the match.”
After a tentative first half, the Hammers found their quality in the second half and punished the Villains with goals from Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate sealing the win.
“It’s a massive win for us and I have nothing but praise for my players,” said Bilic. “Villa showed great spirit and until the red card they were better to give them credit.
“They lacked concentration after that which made us better. They sat back and it was only the result that kept them in the game. We needed the break to re-organise the team.
“We played exactly how we should in the second half. We played attractive attacking football and we didn’t panic. We were patient, quick, dynamic and we didn’t lose out composure or shape.
“It makes no big difference if you’re defending against 10 or 11 men so you need that extra skill and luck when you have the man advantage. As soon as we scored the second goal it was impossible for them to come back.”
The east Londoners sit in sixth place in the Premier League table as they stretch their unbeaten run to three matches.
A busy schedule lies ahead. First they travel to St. Mary’s on Saturday (February 6) where they take on Southampton before returning to Upton Park for the FA Cup Fourth round replay against Liverpool where the winners will face Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers.