West Ham joint chairman David Sullivan has spoken of his disappointment after the Hammers suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Premier League title favourites Chelsea last night despite a valiant effort from Slaven Bilic’s men.
Sullivan watched the Hammers slip to defeat to Antonio Conte’s side and then tipped them to go on and lift the top flight silverware.
Sullivan, who along with fellow co-chairman David Gold invested £105million to buy West Ham in 2010, said: “It’s always a disappointment to lose at home but I think we can safely say that we were beaten by this season’s likely Premier League champions.”
But the West Ham supremo believes there were quite a few positives to take from Bilic’s troops’ performance that will give his side confidence going into the weekend’s visit to Bournemouth.
Studious ullivan points out that the Hammers had more shots on goal than the Blues (11 to nine), remarkably, enjoyed more possession (52 per cent to 48 per cent) and took more corner kicks (six to four). And he says he was mightily encouraged by the late surge that saw Manuel Lanzini snatch a consolation goal.
He added: “The key statistic is that Chelsea took more chances than us, but our ability to compete with them is a sign that the gap is closing and we are not far away from beating the top sides. I believe we are only a couple of players short of having a very, very good side, and I can promise that we will be working extremely hard again in the summer to achieve that objective.”
Sullivan says that the other big positive he took from the defeat was the magnificent support shown by fans, who displayed great support to try to rally the team even after the visitors had scored their second goal. Now the focus switches to a trip to Dorset to face the Cherries, and Sullivan noted:
“There is no reason to believe that we won’t bounce back and enjoy a repeat of our memorable victory at the Vitality Stadium last season. Our away record since Christmas has been excellent, with three wins and a draw from five matches on our travels, and 11 goals scored.”
Bilic has the benefit of having Michail Antonio available again after suspension; a victory will take West Ham back into the top half of the table above Southampton, who don’t have a game.