West Ham were rightful winners, insists Bilic

West Ham were rightful winners, insists Bilic

Salven Bilic believes that West Ham just deserved their win over Bournemouth

Danial Kennedy

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic, has said that the Hammers were the rightful winners in their 1-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth in their opening league game at the London Stadium.

Starting it off with three points

Hammers fans descended on Stratford for the official league opening of their new stadium, but chances in the first period were few and far between, with half chances from Enner Valencia and Cheikhou Kouyate.

Eddie Howe's side stood firm throughout the majority of the second period, even with the dismissal of Harry Arter, but a header from Michail Antonio five minutes from time secured the three points, and Bilic said that his side were deserving of the win.

"I’m good as it was a nice day today as the lads were brilliant,” Bilic told whufc.com, and the Croatian admitted “We didn’t expect to play great football and play like Brazil and pass, pass, pass because, with the greatest respect, we were missing four of our most-creative players."

He continued: “Against Bournemouth, a team full of energy and really good in terms of team spirit, we showed aggression and compactness and created a few chances," and told the club website "I didn’t expect more than that, but we scored from one of those moves, so I think we just deserved it.”

Above: Michail Antonio celebrarting his goal in West Ham's 2-1 win over Bournemouth | Photo: Getty Images
Above: Michail Antonio celebrarting his goal in West Ham's 2-1 win over Bournemouth | Photo: Getty Images

That kind of player

The match winner Antonio, proved a revelation in the second half of last season after his move from Nottingham Forest. The winger was somewhat the villain after their 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, giving the penalty away for the Blues' first goal, but Bilic was full of praise for Antonio after Sunday's victory.

“Michail is that kind of player,” said Bilic, who believes  “He is very versatile and can play in a few positions. He could play really well as a striker as well, with his pace and in the air."

Bilic concluded: “When balls come in and are delivered to the far post and he’s in a challenge with any full-back in the Premier League, it’s up to him. Last year he scored six of his seven goals with his head, so he is good at it.”

West Ham United will take on Astra Giurgiu in the second-leg of their Europa League play-off at the London Stadium on Thursday, August 25 with kick-off at 7:45pm BST.