West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has expressed his anger and disappointment after the 2-1 home loss at the hands of Leicester City – but said that “a lot of credit has to go to Leicester”.
Goals from Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez, his third in two games, ensured the Foxes made a 100% start to the season, despite a scare in the second half as French playmaker Dimitri Payet scored his first for the Hammers.
Bilic said the east Londoners were “second best” to Claudio Ranieri’s side.
Bilic said: “We knew it would be a tough game against Leicester because every game is difficult. With all the credit to Leicester, we made it a bit easier for them because, in the first half, after the first 10 minutes we were always second best.
“Second balls, their throw-ins, long balls from Kasper Schmeichel or Robert Huth, they were getting all of them. If you lose those kind of situations – and there are plenty of them in a game – then it’s very difficult to win. We lost the game in the first half. In the second half we did our best and started to play much better.”
On paper, this is the type of match West Ham were expected to win especially on the back of last week’s 2-0 victory against Arsenal at the Emirates.
However, with two weeks left of the transfer window, former Croatia National coach Bilic said he had some targets in mind, but will not “panic buy”.
He said: “We have a few targets and if they become available we will try to be active. We are trying to get two players here to add to our squad but they must be quality.”
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Reece Oxford, 16, who dealt with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla in sublime fashion, did not have the same effect in Saturday’s defeat and was brought off at half time, being replaced by summer recruit Pedro Obiang.
Bilic said: “Reece Oxford was not the reason why we played badly in the first half. This will help him in his career, to experience both results in the first week of his senior career.
“Nothing has changed, not for him, not for West Ham. With every player though, they just have to learn lessons from this game and every other one. If we gained confidence from the Arsenal game, then we have to learn lessons from this one.”