Sunday, 9 April 2017

Tension eases for West Ham manager Slaven Bilic as Swansea are dismissed

West Ham 1-0 Swansea

The relief was clear for all to see on the final whistle as West ham manager Slaven Bilic punched the air.

The players and manager celebrated a significant result, after a week of unwarranted pressure built up on theclub – some of its own making.

After the game Bilic seemed to be looking forward to his weekly telephone chat with co-chairman David Sullivan. The other co-chairman David Gold had already congratulated Bilic on the result.

The manager though believes there is still “ a big job to be done” before West Ham reach safety. “We need four points as soon as possib le,” said Bilic, who believes 40 points with a good goal difference should be enough to avoid the drop.

Bilic declared himself relaxed about his job, revealing he had been under greater pressure at other times in his career,

The one negative from the afternoon was seeing top scorer Michail Antonio limping off. “The loss of Antonio will be a massive blow,” said Bilic who remained hopeful that the player would be back soon.

West Ham dominated the game but failed to put many of the chances away that they created.

Robert Snodgrass came close to putting the home side ahead, when his header from an Antonio cross was held on the line by Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.

The impressive keeper then turned aside an Andre Ayew shot from the edge of the area. Fabianski, though, was beaten just before half time, as Snodgrass laid the ball into the path of Kouyate who strode forward to drill home his shot from 20 yards.

The West Ham pressure continued after the break with Ayew once again denied by Fabianksi, whilst Sam Byram and Jonathan Calleri hit the side netting when well placed.

The home side wobbled a little in the dying minutes of the game, with the resolute James Collins hooking the ball away, after keeper Darren Randolph had missed the cross. Byram then intervened to block another close range shot.

Disappointed Swansea boss Paul Clement declared that it was “a poor performance” in “a poor game.”

 “We played with a lot of anxiety, there was a lot of fear in our play,” said Clement. “There are seven games to go and a battle for survival.”  

The Swansea manager  admitted his side had made “a huge number of mistakes” but conceded they “have to deal with that.”

Published - Morning Star - 10/4/2017

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