West Ham Utd will wait and watch to see if they are facing Shrewsbury or Manchester Utd in the quarter finals of the FA Cup with the confidence to view any combination as surmountable.
Manager Slaven Bilic was as good as his word over the much-derided knock-out trophy and sent out a strong team against lower league Blackburn on Sunday (February 21). The rampant 5-1 display showed the east Londoners were not just superior but in with a chance of a Wembley appearance.
The Lancashire side had initially shown some fight but a red card for Chris Taylor gave the Irons licence to run riot. A levelling red for Cheikhou Kouyate was disputed as it was “not a goal-scoring opportunity” according to the manager. The club is likely to appeal.
Two sublime goals by Dimitri Payet and two by new man Emmanuel Emenike show there was silky skills and front-of-goal ruthlessness in the side all started by Victor Moses who brought the game level once Ben Marshall had begun proceedings for the Championship club.
Payet ran into the arms of Bilic on scoring a wonder free kick and the manager returned the compliment saying: “On the ball he is there with Luka Modric from the players I have trained so far. Dimitri is one of the best I have trained.”
Some 7,000 fans had made the trip north and they were treated to a virtuoso display that only ended with the final whistle.
Bilic told the club’s website : “You can’t call it destiny but you can call a brilliant way to finish our time at one of the most historic grounds in the country.
“We want to progress as far as possible. I don’t think that any manager is approaching the FA Cup not wanting to win the games. It is massive and we are crazy to go through in the FA Cup.
“We played some fantastic football at Blackburn and it was great for West Ham fans as there were like 7,000 of them.
“It was also good for the neutrals as a lot of the stuff we played was magnificent.”