West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic says he doesn’t feel sorry for former manager Sam Allardyce over the result after the Hammers 1-0 win against Sunderland on Saturday.
Allardyce returned to the Boleyn Ground for the first with his Black Cats side battling against the drop zone. His side put up a good show but came away with nothing.
The two met behind the scenes. “See you next season, hopefully,” the Sunderland manager said to Bilic, shaking hands. “You will, you will,” was Bilic’s response.
However, Hammers winger Michail Antonio’s third goal in three home games was enough to seal the three points and keep West Ham in the top six and make life tougher for Sunderland.
Bilic says his side deserved the win but he did worry at times that they would concede during moments in a turbulent game.
Bilic said: “I respect Allardyce and said enough about him at the press conference that he had done brilliantly for West Ham, but I don’t feel sorry. I think we deserved to win.
“But there is always the danger that you are going to concede. They created a couple of chances and they played some good football in the second half, but if you are trying to tell me they deserved to win that game, no way. We did enough and should have scored the second goal.
“At half time I told the guys we were not flat, but we were not in the red zone. But the crowd were also a little bit sleepy. Maybe it was because it was an early kick-off. It is not that we didn’t train this week, or that we came here whistling, we knew it was going to be hard. We were not on maximum and this makes the win even bigger for us.”
West Ham’s latest three points means the Boleyn Ground side now have 43 points from 27 games – their highest points tally at this stage of any season in the Premier league era.
However Bilic said he was not aware of this impressive record and said his players need to keep level headed because finishing a season strongly was more important than starting well.
“Last year West Ham were up there and looking at a record season before they started to slip, so it doesn’t mean a lot,” said the manager. “It is not about your first touch it is about your last touch.
Read more Match report: West Ham 1, Sunderland 0
As for Europe, Bilic was his usual pragmatic self. “If I say ‘we don’t have a chance’, then a lot of people will think I don’t believe in my team. If I say ‘yeah, we’ve got a chance’, then I’ve become big-headed I’ll leave you to make a calculation.”
Allardyce, who thanked fans for his warm reception, said: “We know we should have got a result, and with the position we’re in it was imperative we came away with at least a point. We’ve made life extremely hard for ourselves by not getting one.
“You have to be encouraged by the performance, but for them not to convert any of their chances is a real concern to me. Losing that today is difficult to take, very difficult.”