New West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said while he was “proud” of the 2-0 win over Arsenal to start the new Premier League season, he’s especially happy with how the club turned things around at halftime.
Wait a minute, turned things around? They were 1-0 up at the break! Well, don’t tell Bilic that.
[ RECAP: West Ham stuns Arsenal with 2-0 win ]
“We minimalized them,” Bilic said. “To be fair, in the first half, we didn’t deserve to be one-up. I thought 0-0 would be fair, but they [Arsenal] were better. They were hungrier, they were quicker, it was like we didn’t believe in ourselves.”
But despite how unhappy he was at the break, Bilic said he knew set-pieces would be an advantage for West Ham, and they used that to go 1-0 up in the first half. And over the second 45 minutes, the Hammers put the game away.
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“At halftime, although we were winning, my team talk was not that positive, and I was not that happy,” Bilic admitted. “Second half was a different class in every aspect of the game in both ways. Defending as a team, as a unit; attacking as a team, as a unit; keeping the ball; everything was there, so the second half was better and we really deserved that.”
Finally, Bilic was impressed with 16-year-old Reece Oxford, praising him that, although he’s “16 on paper,” he has plenty to offer. He even called Oxford “a cool guy,” which is nice.