Slaven Bilic praised his players’ patience after West Ham saw off 10-man Aston Villa 2-0 to move to within six points of the Premier League top four.
Second-half goals from Michail Antonio and Cheikhou Kouyate handed the Hammers all three points, as Villa were unable to cope with having to play 75 minutes a man light following Jordan Ayew’s early red card for a reckless elbow on Aaron Cresswell.
It took more than 40 minutes of playing against 10 men for the home side to make their numerical advantage count but Bilic was pleased with the methodical approach applied by the Hammers.
The West Ham manager told BT Sport: “We started really well for three or four minutes. After that they got the ball, they controlled the game and they were really good.
“The game was not decided with the red card but it affected the game a lot. After that it was only the result that kept them in the game.
“A lot of times the team who has one man more on the pitch doesn’t score but we were professional. We were patient, we didn’t rush with the final ball if the situation was not ready for it.
“We were trying to find that solution.
“Of course until you score the first you are a little bit nervous. You need that bit of magic or bit of skill.
“We scored a great goal with Antonio and after that it was easier, we controlled the game and played some really good football.
“I have nothing but praise for the players and we go forward.”
Bilic sympathised with Villa’s predicament – defeat for Remi Garde’s team leaves them 10 points from safety at the foot of the Premier League table.
“They are paying the price now for the early stage of the season,” said the Croat.