Slaven Bilic has defended Dimitri Payet against accusations of diving, and believes Darren ‘Randy’ Randolph was fouled against Manchester United.
West Ham manager Bilic saw his side come within seven minutes of reaching the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley after Payet’s wonderful free-kick had opened the scoring in the second half.
But Anthony Martial equalised in the 83rd minute to send the quarter-final to a replay at Upton Park.
Payet was accused of diving twice in the match – once for the free-kick which he converted, and once more for a penalty appeal just moments before.
The Frenchman raced through into the penalty area before falling to ground under a sliding challenge from Marcos Rojo, but no spot kick awarded. Opposing boss Louis van Gaal felt the midfielder was more deserving of a second yellow card for diving.
Bilic defended the 28-year-old after the game, and claimed that referee Martin Atkinson failed to spot a foul on goalkeeper ‘Randy’ for United’s equaliser.
“Come on. If you have a screen, show me, I am going to defend my point at Cambridge,” the Croatian said of Payet’s penalty appeal. “There is more than a contact. It is definitely not a dive.
“It wasn’t a dive. Every decision in the box, it doesn’t have to be penalty or dive. Nobody in the world can say there wasn’t a touch. Then if it was a touch, and it is more than a touch, it is a penalty. When you are sliding in the box from behind, I am not saying it was nasty, but it was mistimed. Rojo slides and when you are sliding in the box and the ball is nowhere near you, you are taking a big gamble and a big risk. It is a penalty.
“I don’t want to spoil the game talking about the referees,” Bilic added. “Overall, he did a good job. There were two crucial decisions. Firstly the penalty on Payet. The second one is an obvious foul from Schweinsteiger on Randy. He would’ve definitely got to the ball. It was hard to see but it was obvious, a foul by Schweinsteiger on Randy. I am also a bit gutted for that.”