Slaven Bilic says nothing can beat the feeling of West Ham’s 1-0 win against Tottenham at the London Stadium on Friday night.
Manuel Lanzini’s second-half goal earned the Hammers a 1-0 home win over their fiercest rivals for the second-consecutive season and all but ended Spurs’ slim hopes of pipping Chelsea to the Premier League title.
Spurs came into the match on the back of nine straight victories and looking to close the gap to the league leaders to one point, but they were subdued against a well-drilled and fired-up Hammers team.
Bilic said West Ham replicated the game-plan from the last-gasp 3-2 defeat at White Hart Lane in November, and lauded his players for their performances.
“We deserved to win. We did everything, we had a game plan. It may sound strange but that game we lost 3-2 at White Hart Lane in November, we wanted to repeat it,” Bilic told a postmatch news conference.
“We were really good in that game, and very unlucky not to win it. You have a game plan in every game and everything looks good on paper but the way we did it was magnificent. It was a great team display in terms of character, determination, thinking about what every individual had to do.
“But to beat a team like Spurs you need more than that and we showed great qualities, especially in the second half, and maybe we deserved to have scored another goal. It was a great performance, especially when you do it in such an important game for them and for us.
“Friday night, under lights, in front of 60,000, against them — you can’t beat that feeling! The players deserve an enormous amount of praise for their performance.”
Bilic admitted that his side have lacked consistency this season but said this result — which moved the Hammers to 42 points and all but guaranteed their Premier League survival — was further proof that they always deliver when it matters most.
“That’s why I like this team,” he said. “You need it every week, you need it on a daily basis — that’s what modern football is about, especially in the Premier League.
“But every time we needed it big time — [Crystal] Palace away, Palace home, Hull and Burnley at home in three or four days in December, Sunderland home, Everton home, Stoke away and now today — we have done it. And with so many obstacles we’ve had in the season, the guys they deserve it.”
The Hammers’ home form has gone from the seventh-best in the Premier League last season to the fifth-worst in the top flight since they swapped the Boleyn Ground for the London Stadium and they were missing a marquee win at their new home before Friday night.
“This is a great stadium, I never said that it ain’t,” Bilic said. “Of course it is. Long term it’s the best move West Ham has ever done but you need time to adjust to everything new but we needed time and we still need time to adjust to it.
“I said it ages ago: This stadium is the best thing that’s happened to West Ham. We felt that tonight, we felt that against Everton, we felt it against Chelsea in [the 2-1 win in] the EFL Cup in October but you need time to do it week-in-week-out as we used to do at Upton Park.”