Bilic explains halftime sub of teen Oxford, says West Ham were “second best”


What a difference a week makes.

Actually, it’s been less than a week since 16-year-old midfielder Reece Oxford and West Ham United were the darlings of the Premier League following a stunning 2-0 win over Arsenal.

It was quite the different story on Sunday, as Leicester City built a 2-0 lead over Slaven Bilic’s Hammers, and the promising teenager was removed at halftime of a 2-1 loss.

[ MATCH RECAP: West Ham United 1-2 Leicester City ]

Bilic was quick to defend Oxford, saying the midfielder wasn’t playing any worse than the rest of the struggling side. The manager just wanted to add some steadiness and steel into his side.

 “It was not that he played worse than the rest of the team. He played well but our passing was really slow in the first half and with Pedro we were much quicker in tempo.

“We scored a goal early enough to play our normal game but with more aggression. We had a great chance for the equalizer through Diafra Sakho, I was expecting us to score a second, but we didn’t.”

The manager also praised the club’s start to the match, but admitted they dropped to “second best” after that.

Next up: a visit from Bournemouth on Saturday. Will Oxford get another chance in the Starting XI, or will the youngster come off the bench? Bilic likes his veterans, and has several options at his disposal.