Oops. That wasn’t in the script. The plan was for the team to wave a not-so-tearful farewell to Dimitri Payet and then, heads down, get back to the business of winning football matches.
Manchester City had other ideas on Wednesday night (February 1). And they executed them emphatically, drilling four past a team that still seems out of sorts in the London Stadium.
West Ham helped a ruthless City with a string of possession errors and the headlines were stolen by Gabriel Jesus who scored his first for the Sky Blues.
Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Jesus and a second half penalty from Yaya Toure helped City on their way, denting the Irons’ new-found confidence. That’s a two-leg 9-0 win in five weeks.
Pep Guardiola even left Sergio Aguero – overdue a goal – on the bench.
This was not the blooding that the new West Ham signings wanted. Jose Fonte started from the beginning with Robert Snodgrass coming on in the 64th minute, both feeling their way into the match.
Manager Slaven Bilic told the club’s website : “We gave the ball away for their first and third goals and we made mistakes. It’s hard to go so quickly 2-0 down and then we make another mistake and then after that we weren’t aggressive enough and we didn’t close them down.
“We can say that it’s playing Man City and not every team is like Man City and that’s true but we have to get over this game and we have to prepare for the game against Southampton.”
“It’s a heavy defeat for us and it’s hurting us a lot but we can’t let it affect us a lot and we need to bounce back like we did after the defeat in the FA Cup. We need to show how we can bounce back against Southampton.”
Michail Antonio said : “Right now, that result is painful and it’s really hurting us but we have another game in three days and we just need to make sure we get things right against Southampton on Saturday.
“It’s hard to take but you just have to give it to them; they’re a quality team and they showed today that they’re lethal on the counter attack.”
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