English Premiership

Bilic: What an amazing farewell

2016-05-11 15:09
Slaven Bilic (TEAMtalk)

Cape Town - West Ham boss Slaven Bilic hailed his side for rising to the occasion as they beat Manchester United 3-2 in the final match at the Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers have played at the ground for 112 years but will be moving to the modern Olympic Stadium next season, and Bilic's players etched their names in history on Tuesday night by winning the last-ever game at Upton Park in dramatic fashion.

A deflected goal by Diafra Sakho on 10 minutes handed the hosts an early lead, but a second-half brace from Anthony Martial threatened to spoil the party for everyone connected with the east London club.

However, two quick-fire goals from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid in the closing stages ensured a fitting send-off, leaving Bilic bursting with pride.

"It was brilliant. It was not a normal, ordinary game like at the end of the season. It was not a normal game even if you add to that that there are two games to go. We are still there for the points," he told West Ham TV.

"It was the last game at this stadium and I mean, don't get me wrong, I said to the players however this finishes, it's been a great season. But we didn't want to lose or not to win at the last game of this fantastic stadium and it's not easy to do it or to cope with this pressure.

"We didn't control the emotions, we just channelled them and we rode on them. We started well, scored a goal which helps always, and we were a bit unlucky not to be two goals up at half-time.

"Second half, they came back as they have class but we showed character and we knew all the time that we can hurt them and that's what we did.

"It was an amazing farewell to this stadium. The guys that played, the guys on the bench, they deserve to go down in history, big time."

Bilic added: "It was much more than just a game. Ex-players were there; you can say to the players 'you are professional and play with the pressure' and a lot of times you shrink and sink but not these guys who showed amazing character and spirit.

"This is like a special night. I didn't win the Champions League before but I've played for West Ham and the Croatia national team and was in the World Cup and I managed them, and I'm Croatian so it can't be much bigger! But this game comes to there.

"I am so proud of the players because it goes down in history. It's not just beating Manchester United, it's the last game in this stadium for the guys. Even the players who are now in heaven, they wanted this to happen and that's why it's so great and why I'm so proud."

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