Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Boro Deserved a Point Admits Bilic; Opposition Reaction

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Boro Deserved a Point Admits Bilic; Opposition Reaction

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHON TAYLOR @JonathonTaylor1

WEST Ham manager Slaven Bilic felt Middlesbrough did deserve a point against his side - but was disappointed with the result.

The under-fire Croatian conceded a draw against Boro - a team "from the bottom half of the table" - wasn't what he had hoped for at the London Stadium.

The Hammers clawed their way back level after Cristhian Stuani's opener, with midfield talisman Dimitri Payet scoring a sensational solo goal.

After the match, Bilic said Payet's strike reminded him of Lionel Messi - and believes he is the right man to get West Ham back up the Premier League table.

"Middlesbrough played well, especially in the second half," Bilic said.

"They were calmer on the ball, they didn't penetrate that much but they were calm, kept it in our half and sadly we didn't go one-up, which we should have in the first half.

"They're a team full of internationals, full of experience. They deserved a point.

"Unfortunately we didn't win. It's mixed emotions, on one hand I can take a lot of positives from the game. We came back and got a point after four games which we've lost. We showed what the team is all about, showed character and spirit, fight and work-rate. In those terms I couldn't ask for more, but on the other, was it the result we were looking for? No.

The didn't that much were calm, Slaven "With the greatest respect to Middlesbrough, we played against a team from the bottom half of the table and we wanted to beat them. But am I optimistic? Yes - there were positives.

"For 90 minutes we looked like a team. That's the minimum (expectation) - that doesn't guarantee you to do well in the Premier League, you have to add quality."

On Payet's equaliser, Bilic added: "It was a great goal, a brilliant individual goal, but it was one aspect in the game. …

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