Slaven Bilic hailed West Ham’s patient approach after late Manuel Lanzini and Dimitri Payet goals sealed a 3-1 Premier League win at Crystal Palace.
The visitors took the lead at Selhurst Park through Carl Jenkinson, only for Yohan Cabaye’s penalty to level soon afterwards.
Palace had Dwight Gayle sent off a minute before the break, and Lanzini and Payet struck at the end to make it 13 points from five away league games in 2015-16 – the best record in the division.
Bilic said: “You’ve got to be patient, you’ve got to stay in the positions, you’ve got to stretch them, you’ve got to switch the sides quick, you’ve got to play with two touches, if possible one touch, until that situation comes that you are one against one on the flanks where we had that quality.”
The Croatian said Palace were “defending basically with nine men in or just out of the box” after Gayle’s red card.
Bilic said his team sometimes plays football as if it is basketball, as if they have a “limitation of 24 seconds to finish your move, and then you are forcing the situation too early”.
The Hammers boss added he is pleased with his squad depth after naming four attackers – Andy Carroll, Enner Valencia, Mauro Zarate and Nikica Jelavic – on the bench.
“We can afford to have two injuries and one suspension and we can live with that,” he said.
“The guys who came from the bench [Carroll, Zarate and Jelavic] decided the game.”
Bilic said he is not concerned by high expectations after his side climbed to third in the table.
“Our expectation is to stay in the league. It’s still early days. Unfortunately it is not late May, it is October,” he said.
“I don’t know where we’re going to finish, but it should be good.”
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