West Ham manager Slaven Bilic had nothing but praise for his players on the back of a 2-0 win against a struggling Newcastle United, pushing the Hammers to fifth in the Barclays Premier League table.
Two goals from the magnificent Dimitri Payet, a £10.7million buy from French Ligue One side Marseille, was enough to clinch the east Londoners first home win of the season.
Bilic praised his players’ performance, insisting they deserved nothing less than maximum points from the match on Monday night (September 14).
Bilic said: “We started well and it became even more important because Newcastle need the points more than we did. I wouldn’t swap those two historical wins away at Arsenal and Liverpool, but we needed to win at home. We want our fans to go home or to the pub happy.
“It’s great for our confidence because sooner or later we will experience losing an away game, its normal. You can live with that. Leicester and Bournemouth both deserved to win here. Our reaction in the second half in both of those games was good, but this was nearly the complete performance.
“We were lucky we had Dimitri [Payet] in that position for the first goal and we finished off our chances. We were lifted and we played really good and then in the second half we scored the goal at the right moment.”
France international midfielder Payet, who now has three goals and two assists already this season, was deservedly man of the match for West Ham.
“I am not surprised by Payet,” said the 46-year-old. “He has gelled in straight away, but most importantly is he is improving the players around him as well as improving himself.
“When I first came to West Ham he was the first player that I wanted. I surprised we got him here so quickly because the deal only took five days to complete. I tried to sign him when I was at Besiktas but it was impossible. He’s making everyone around him better and his contribution to goals and key balls is crucial.”
Magpies boss Steve McClaren blamed the lack of preparation for the defeat as a major incident on the A13 caused the Newcastle team to arrive at the Boleyn Ground way behind their schedule.
However, Bilic said that West Ham also arrived late as well, but the lack of preparation was not to blame.
Bilic said: “We were late as well. We travelled for one hour from Canary Wharf to the ground. We were prepared to put the game back 15 minutes but they had enough time. Even if they had a night at Upton Park, we would still have the same game plan.”
McLaren will be glad to see the back of Bilic for some time, as the last time these two met before Monday night’s fixture was the unforgettable 3-2 win for Bilic’s Croatia against McLaren’s England in 2007, giving him the tag “the wally in the brolly” and was shortly dismissed from international duty.