West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic says that Dimitri Payet not wanting to play for the club has left him feeling “sad” and “angry.”
Bilic revealed on Thursday that Payet is refusing to pull on a West Ham shirt again and wants to leave the club, though they are unwilling to sell the France international.
Writing in his column for the Evening Standard on Friday, Bilic said the situation was hard to take but that it had been “developing for a little while.”
“To be completely honest, the last thing I want to talk about in this column is the situation surrounding Dimitri Payet,” he wrote. “I said what I needed to say in my news conference yesterday, although I do understand that many West Ham fans will be reading this today and will feel as disappointed as I do that it has come to this. They will want to know why this has happened.
“Now, though, I owe it to my players, to concentrate on them, to prepare them for what is a massive game against Crystal Palace [on Saturday]. I have many times heard the mantra that ‘the team is bigger than any individual.’ A saying such as this, although often true, means little in theory, but in this case it couldn’t be more accurate.
“I would only add this. This situation with Dimitri has been developing for a little while now. Two days ago, he and I had a meeting. I won’t disclose what was said, but I was left in no doubt as to his intentions.
“Yesterday, just before the normal prematch news conference, I asked Dimitri one more time: ‘Are you standing by what you said a couple of days ago or have you thought more about it?’ He replied that he was standing by his decision, so that was that. The right thing to do then was to tell the supporters and the players what was happening and I informed the squad later that morning, before we began training.
“It has left me sad, angry, but at the moment Dimitri has said he will not play for the club, so I have no alternative but to plan for Saturday’s match without him.”
Bilic revealed that Payet will train separately from the first team until the situation is resolved, while reiterating that West Ham do not plan to sell the midfielder. The Hammers have reportedly rejected a £20 million bid from Payet’s former club Marseille.
“He will not train with the rest of the squad and the club’s position remains consistent, which is that he is not for sale,” he continued. “It would be much, much better if this had not happened and that he had remained committed to West Ham, but that is not the case, so life goes on.
“Many times over the years, clubs have lost quality players but gained a team. There is no point in saying we won’t miss Dimitri Payet because the fans know — we know — that he is a great player. What I mean, though, is, for example, when a team has a player sent off, somehow that often gives the rest of the players more energy, they dig deeper. I am not so much hoping as expecting this reaction from my team against Crystal Palace tomorrow.”
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