Tuesday 22 January 2019

Bilic: 'I'll solve Payet puzzle'

Dimitri Payet. Pic: PA
Dimitri Payet. Pic: PA

Slaven Bilic is determined to solve the Dimitri Payet "puzzle" after West Ham's star man asked to leave the club.

France international Payet has refused to play against Crystal Palace this afternoon in a bid to force a move away from east London.

His stance has rocked the Hammers prior to a crucial game against their fellow strugglers but manager Bilic is standing firm, saying they will not sell their prized asset.

Payet's former club Marseille have reportedly already had a bid knocked back while Paris St Germain are also believed to be interested.

It is hard to see Payet playing for West Ham again, but despite the stand-off Bilic has not closed the door on the 29-year-old.

"Until he changes his attitude he is out of the team and he's not going to train with us," said the Croatian.

"But we are not going to sell him, not whatsover. I expect him to come back and show commitment and determination to the team, like the team has shown to him.

"Is this my toughest challenge? Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be up there fighting with Chelsea.

"But I was thinking on Wednesday by myself that this, including this new situation, is an unbelievably great challenge for me personally.

"I feel so strong - and I don't like it - but I want that challenge and I want to try and solve this puzzle now. I don't know how to tell you that. It's not enjoyable of course but when you have such a big challenge in front of you, it motivates you even more and it gets the best out of you and that's how I feel now."

Meanwhile, Palace boss Sam Allardyce is desperate to get his first win in charge of the club when they face his old side West Ham.

He said: "(Getting a win) is massively important. Deep down inside, even though I didn't say it, reflecting on the Watford game it was bitterly disappointing and how costly that draw was.

"We just have to make sure that we get it sooner rather than later because the longer it goes on, the more fearful players can get so we need to put that away as soon as possible."

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