West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has defended France midfielder Dimitri Payet after Watford players accused him of showboating last Saturday.
Payet set up a goal for Michail Antonio with a ‘rabona’, crossing the ball with his right foot behind his left leg.
Watford captain Troy Deeney said that wound his team up and prompted a comeback from 2-0 down to win 4-2, their first Premier League victory of the season.
Bilic denied on Friday that it showed a lack of respect.
“It doesn’t bother me if someone does a rabona pass and it ends up in a goal,” he told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s game at West Bromwich Albion. “It is good for the confidence and the crowd.”
Bilic is more concerned with fourth from bottom West Ham’s defending after they conceded four goals in 22 minutes at home to Watford.
“It was not a good performance,” he said. “More individual mistakes and misunderstanding from a couple of players.
“We have talked about it behind closed doors. We had a really good meeting and now wait for the reaction.”
There was trouble between supporters and stewards during the Watford game and the authorities have refused the club’s request to increase capacity at the London Stadium from 56 000 to 60 000.
Bilic believes the fans, like the team, will soon settle down at the venue.
“We want them to feel good and to feel safe,” he said. “It takes time to adjust – it is a different stadium and we love our new home.”
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