West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic’s future was the subject of speculation after a 3-0 home Premier League loss to Brighton but his side gave him a lifeline with a spirited comeback win over Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup on Wednesday.
Trailing 2-0 to Spurs at the break, the Hammers produced a thrilling revival to emerge 3-2 winners and take their place in the quarter-finals.
“The mood was down at halftime but not that down as against Brighton. We did not penetrate Spurs enough, were not good in the final third and we said things about what we should do when they and ourselves have the ball,” Bilic told reporters.
“We reacted in the most brilliant way. To score three goals against them, who do not concede goals, then be brave and compact and good on the ball, we deserved it and it is a big boost for us,” the Croatian said.
Bilic shrugged off the suggestion that the players had shown they were clearly playing for their boss.
“I said I am calm and glad when we win in this way. You see the team is very alive and we are very stubborn in a positive way. This is no time and place to go large now. We have done a lot, but considering the season, we have done nothing,” he said.
Andre Ayew scored twice to bring the Hammers level before defender Angelo Ogbanna headed in the winner to give the visiting fans, whose team have just two wins in the league, cause for celebration at last.
“Goals are always key, they give the whole team energy. We did not want to concede the third and then score ourselves. We did that and had more confidence, it gave us rhythm and they got out of rhythm,” Bilic said.
Having witnessed impressive performances from players who have been out of the starting line-up, Bilic could face a tricky selection choice for Saturday’s league clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
“We wanted to put a strong team out tonight, it was an important game for us. The team, especially in these moments, is above every individual and we have to be humble. No matter who plays on Saturday, we should not have any ‘long noses’ and we have to fight for the team,” Bilic added.