Bilic plays down Costa incident, feels Chelsea “deserved” to win

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West Ham nearly pulled out a draw at Stamford Bridge in their season’s opening match, but were done in by Diego Costa‘s late winner.

Hammers manager Slaven Bilic admitted that for much of the game Chelsea was in control, and while it was disappointing to concede so late and drop points, it was nothing less than the home side’s performance justified.

“Of course, when you concede so late in the first game, it makes you disappointed,” Bilic said after the match. “It’s a big frustration for us because we were so close against a top side on that ground. But they deserved it…they deserved it. I mean, we were so close, and I felt that was it, but let’s be honest, apart from the first 15 minutes, and from the time we equalized in that middle period, they were better than us.”

[ RECAP: Late Costa goal downs West Ham at Stamford Bridge ]

“They were much more aggressive, they were winning the second balls, and if you add on top of that players like Hazard who were top form on fire, you have to admit they were better than us.”

Bilic was asked about the Costa challenge on Adrian, that very well could have resulted in a second booking for the Chelsea striker, but was let off the hook by referee Anthony Taylor. He believed while it’s unfortunate the decision went against his team, it wasn’t a travesty, and he was much more frustrated by his squad’s late letdown.

“It’s the first game of the season and we are already talking about those kind of decisions. Of course from those point of view we were not happy with it. I saw that incident again…I don’t think it was reckless, it was definitely not a reckless one. It was from my point of view not a deliberate one, but it was late, it was very late. 9 times out of 10 when you see that challenge on the goalkeeper it results in a booking. Unfortunately this was the 10th time. But I am much more disappointed in the late goal than that accident with Costa.”