West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic was disappointed with the 3-3 draw against title contenders Arsenal, saying it was a huge blow to their hopes of finishing in the top four.
A win would have put the Hammers level on points with Manchester City. However, the Irons were 2-0 down in the first 35 minutes thanks to cool, calm and collected finishes from the Gunners' midfield playmaker Mesut Ozil and Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez.
The east Londoners responded brilliantly – netting twice in quick succession just as half time was approaching thanks to a header and then a superb strike from inside the penalty area from striker Andy Carroll. But they never had chance to recover from playing catch-up, despite doing enough to earn three points.
Carroll claimed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half with a back post header before Arsenal centre half Laurent Koscielny levelled the game with 15 minutes to spare.
Although Bilic insisted that the result was a fair one in a thrilling encounter between the London clubs, he insisted his side deserved to be at least third in the table.
Bilic said: "First of all it was a great game. One of those games of the season. It was amazing. I'm delighted with my players with the way they played. The only thing I'm not happy about was the result. We can talk for ages, but the summary is I am very proud of our performance. The only thing I'm not happy with was result. We should be third in the table – not fourth.”
Bilic also praised the performance of hat-trick hero Carroll – not only with the goals he scored but also with his overall performance.
“Sometimes Andy leaves no option but to use him as an impact player but one thing that doesn't change is we want him on at the end. Now Andy is in shape that other thinking comes into our heads and he was magnificent today, not only with his goals."
West Ham’s quest to reach the FA Cup semi-final to play Everton at Wembley Stadium will depend on whether they can overcome Manchester United on Wednesday night in the FA Cup sixth round replay at Upton Park.
Then they return to league action where they travel to the King Power stadium to take on Premier League leaders Leicester City.