Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Was a Terrific Win but If We Drop Five per Cent below That Level Then We'll Be in Big Danger

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It Was a Terrific Win but If We Drop Five per Cent below That Level Then We'll Be in Big Danger

Article excerpt

Byline: Slaven Bilic

WHEN you win a match, you don't want the next one for six months so you can keep enjoying the feeling when you lose, though, you want the next one the day after tomorrow.

Not my words but those of Miroslav Blazevic, Croatia's most famous ever manager, who led the country to third place at the 1998 World Cup.

It's certainly true because everyone here at West Ham would love to enjoy the feeling and emotion of our terrific win at Arsenal to linger longer but it's not possible.

When the players came back into the Emirates dressing room at full-time on Sunday, I said to them: "Guys, it's a brilliant start and especially against a team like Arsenal but unfortunately it's only a good beginning rather than a great finish."

I'm not saying we should forget about that marvellous win, though. No, we have to take everything that is positive from that match in terms of confidence and pattern.

Of course, we need to make good use of that positivity but from the moment the game finished, it would be suicidal to start preening ourselves, thinking: "We are good, bring on Leicester or Barcelona!" Yes, it was a great start but that's it. It certainly wasn't perfect, in fact I wasn't happy at half-time. I have watched the game again and perhaps the first half was better than I thought at the time but I gave the players more than a little bit of stick at half-time and there was no better time to do it because we were already 1-0 up. The best situation in which to criticise your players is either when you are winning or after you have won.

I told them that I can live with the fact that some of the Arsenal players might have better skills, they may well even be the quickest team in the country. However, they looked more hungry than us in that first half, more aggressive, more concentrated on the second ball and that is the department where I know we should be as good, if not better, than them.

The way our players responded in the second half was brilliant. We were much better, all over the pitch.

I wasn't just delighted with the three points but it was the way we did it, especially towards the end of the game. …

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