Sulk #3: Dimitri Payet

In-flu-ential Antonio stars in Payet's absence

Andy Carroll scoring with a volley in the 79th minute to give West Ham a 2-0 lead over Crystal Palace. The Hammers won 3-0.
Andy Carroll scoring with a volley in the 79th minute to give West Ham a 2-0 lead over Crystal Palace. The Hammers won 3-0.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • West Ham manager Slaven Bilic could not resist a dig at wantaway star Dimitri Payet following his side's impressive 3-0 win over Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The 48-year-old Croat said his players had been "magnificent" and showed it was more about the team than any individual player as they ended a streak of three games without a goal.

"Payet is a great player so you are losing quality, but the team showed it is about the team and not individuals. This is a great example for that," said Bilic. "So let's talk about (Andy) Carroll, or Darren Randolph, or Mark Noble.

"Michail Antonio had flu and a temperature of 38.4 (deg C) last night. He showed brilliant determination, brilliant quality. That's what I want to talk about."

Payet's photograph outside the ground had to be guarded by a steward and the fans' normal laudatory chant of him was replaced by more abusive terms after the France international said he wants to leave and will not play for them.

His former club Marseille is believed to want to re-sign him for £20 million (S$34.79 million) but West Ham co-owner David Sullivan wrote in the matchday programme they will not grant the 29-year-old's demand to move.

In Payet's absence, Antonio set up all three goals. Sofiane Feghouli scored his first in the Premier League and Carroll struck a brilliant bicycle kick before Manuel Lanzini completed the rout.

Sam Allardyce is still winless after his first five matches as Palace manager. His side lie in 17th place in the league table, level on 16 points with 18th-place Hull City.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 16, 2017, with the headline 'In-flu-ential Antonio stars in Payet's absence'. Print Edition | Subscribe