Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bilic critical of referee Atkinson

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Oct 2016

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Slaven Bilic believes West Ham were well worthy of their 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, but criticised Martin Atkinson’s decision to send off defender Aaron Cresswell.

Hammers full-back Cresswell, making his first appearance of the season following a knee injury, saw red late on when he picked up two bookings in the space of a minute.

It was a disappointing end to West Ham’s first Premier League victory since the 1-0 triumph over Bournemouth on August 21, Manuel Lanzini’s strike proving the difference at Selhurst Park.

And although they rode their luck at times – Christian Benteke missing a penalty while Adrian pulled off a string of superb saves – Bilic felt his side deserved all three points.

“We deserved to win. We showed character and spirit. The goal we scored was brilliant,” Bilic told BT Sport. “There’s no better thing for confidence than a goal.

“I prefer not to speak about the red card. I will never be objective because I am West Ham manager.

“There’s no hard feelings about the decisions, but that’s because we won. Firstly, I think it was a penalty and not a dive from Aaron, and then the second yellow card is very harsh.

“It’s very hard for referees but in my opinion they were not correct decisions.”

Bilic set West Ham up in a 3-4-3 system on Saturday, and the former Croatia boss acknowledged that the formation is his preferred option, but conceded using it depended heavily on the fitness of players like Cresswell.

“We tried to find the best system for us that suits all the players. This system I really like, but without players like Cresswell it’s impossible to play,” he added. “We didn’t expect him to be match fit, but he had a great game.

“But it’s not only about the system today, it’s much more about the approach and the composure and in the majority of the game we didn’t give Palace any time.

“You can’t do that if all 11 players weren’t there for each other, so we showed how good we are. But it’s only one win, and we need more than one win.”

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