herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Newcastle players had to walk last mile to West Ham game due to heavy traffic

Newcastle manager Steve McClaren looks dejected at full time
Newcastle manager Steve McClaren looks dejected at full time

Slaven Bilic always knew he had a star on his hands when he signed Dimitri Payet.

The Frenchman, who cost £10.5million from Marseille this summer, scored both goals as the Hammers sank Newcastle 2-0 on Monday evening.

It all added up to another miserable evening for Newcastle boss Steve McClaren at the hands of Bilic.

The night did not start well after they arrived late at the stadium having had to walk the last mile of the journey due to the heavy traffic.

They even asked for the kick-off to be put back in order to give them time to warm up sufficiently, but to no avail.

"We can make excuses and say the preparation wasn't ideal, but it's no excuse," said McClaren, who lost his job as England boss eight years ago after a Wembley defeat to Bilic's Croatia.

"We felt the preparation wasn't long enough and asked the referee to put it back.

Payet struck a sublime opener after just nine minutes, when Mark Noble collected Diafra Sakho's backheel in the penalty area and laid the ball back for the midfielder to coolly sidefoot a curling effort into the top corner.

Three minutes into the second half Payet wrapped up the win when he followed up after Victor Moses' shot crashed against the crossbar.

"It's small proof that we really did well in the transfer window. Payet is a player I wanted from the start," said Hammers boss Bilic.

"I've known him for a long time, he is one of those players who is not only a great player who scores goals and makes goals, but he also makes the players around him play better."

The Hammers' first home win of the season lifted them up to fifth but Bilic added: "I didn't set targets in terms of finishing in the top 10.

"Our target is that we want a good team that can defend with numbers and can attack with numbers, a team who can keep the ball.

"If we succeed in that that should give us more points. But I don't know if we will be fifth, or 15th."

McClaren said afterwards: "We didn't do tonight what we have done for the previous four games in terms of organisation, discipline and being hard to beat, we lacked that.

"It's a learning process, and we've learned a lot tonight. You don't like going through nights like tonight, it's painful, but sometimes you have to."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News