Monday, January 23, 2017

Marked man Payet can continue to shine – Bilic

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Oct 2015

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Forward Dimitri Payet has the quality to deal with the extra attention from opposition defences on his return to Premier League action, according to West Ham manager Slaven Bilic.

The Frenchman has been one of the most impressive performers in the top flight this term following his move from Marseille – scoring four times in all competitions and helping West Ham to sixth.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, Bilic told reporters: “I think teams have given Payet attention already. 

“Maybe he was unknown to some of the fans, but everybody involved in football knew Dimitri Payet before he came to West Ham. He plays in a position where you have to close that space, whoever plays there.

“I have no worries that there’ll be extra attention on him. He’s got the quality that teams are trying to mark him.

“You can’t stop them most of the time and that’s why they are good players.”

Bilic is set to have Angelo Ogbonna available for the clash at Selhurst Park following a hamstring problem although Enner Valencia continues to return to full fitness.

With his side having taken 11 points from their last five games, Bilic added: “I’m pleased with how Enner, Angelo and Andy [Carroll] have recovered and it’s good to have them back.

“Valencia and Ogbonna are both back after longer injuries. Ogbonna has been training for two or three days.

“Valencia has been out since July, it was a long break, but he is back. He is a great player for us, he is one of the biggest assets on the pitch. 

“He looks sharp, now it is just fitness to slowly get him into shape to be fit for a game. Although he played in a practice game, he only played 20 minutes, he still needs a few weeks.

“Alex Song is a maximum of three weeks away, let’s say. [Aaron] Cresswell has a minor injury and we’ll see today and tomorrow how he is.

“[Winston] Reid is not a big one and again we’ll see today or tomorrow if one, both or neither of them will be involved in the game on Saturday.”

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