Bilic: West Ham ticked all the boxes in Upton Park finale

Date published: Wednesday 11th May 2016 8:45

Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic says West Ham’s victory over Manchester United in the final match at Upton Park could not have been better.

In what was an emotionally-charged game, headers from Michail Antonio and Winston Reid secured a 3-2 victory for the Hammers as they bade farewell to their home of 112 years ahead of their move to the Olympic Stadium.

Diafra Sakho had given the hosts the lead until Anthony Martial put United ahead with a second-half brace.

The occasion was marred before kick-off when bottles were thrown at the Manchester United coach as it made its way into the ground.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed a police officer and a member of the public were hurt, with the Football Association confirming it would launch an investigation, while West Ham have vowed to issue life bans to any supporters found responsible.

Kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes but the Hammers were quickly out of the blocks and, although the Red Devils rallied after the break, Bilic ultimately saw his team win and severely dent United’s hopes of Champions League qualification.

“It’s a great night. It’s our history and it’s not just a game. It’s against them, (United) it’s fighting for Europe and everything, a late night game – it couldn’t be better,” he told Sky Sports.

“All the boxes you need to have a special kind of a game, it was tonight. All the boxes were there, Man United, late night….thriller, five goals….so brilliant.”

Bilic felt the victory was well-deserved and praised his players for dealing with such an emotional situation.

He said: “It was a special game, it was big, big pressure for us although we’ve had a great season and I told the guys ‘whatever, you…however we finish the last couple of games, this season has been great for West Ham in terms of breaking a few records and everything’.

“We were till the end in a couple of competitions and battling for the Europa League and a good run in the FA Cup so it was good, very good or excellent, but we were under pressure.

“We didn’t want to lose our last game at this fantastic stadium. We just wanted to win and this was a win of character. We didn’t stop believing because we were unlucky to be 1-1 all the time.

“Okay, they are Manchester United and they have scored a couple of great goals. We knew that they were highly motivated because it meant a lot to them as they could have overtaken Manchester City but we should have been more than 1-0 up at half-time.”

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