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Gutsy Hammers impress Bilic with late rally

West Ham’s mental fortitude impressed manager Slaven Bilic as late strikes from Dimitri Payet and Mark Noble saw Norwich City surrender a two-goal lead at Carrow Road on Saturday. 

The Hammers looked set to lose their third away Premier League game in a row after Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan put the hosts 2-0 up just after the hour mark. 

However, Bilic’s side, who played 120 minutes on Tuesday night as they beat Liverpool in the FA Cup, showed no signs of fatigue as they rallied to secure an important point in their hunt for European football.

Payet scored his seventh goal of the campaign 16 minutes from time and then provided the assist for Noble’s leveller before Emmanuel Emenike missed a gilt-edged chance to win it at the end for the visitors. 

Bilic said: “We are never happy with a point home or away but I have to praise the players for their team spirit, character and resilience.

“Also for the great quality we showed after we were 2-0 down, especially if you add to that that we played 120 minutes against Liverpool a few days ago.

“I said after the Liverpool game that those type of victories give you extra strength, it’s like coming back from pre-season. But when you’re 2-0 down that’s when the fatigue comes and the players get tired but we didn’t show that on the contrary.

“They were very fresh, especially those guys off the bench they made a huge impact on this game. Credit to Norwich they were direct and played with energy but we gave them the first goal it was a gift. The second was unlucky but then we showed a great reaction.

“We did not want the game to stop but we wanted it to continue and the crowd were desperate for a win and that shows you we have a very good side.

“After it went 2-2 we should have won.”

Sat 13 Feb, 2016
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