Payet's goal in Messi's class: Bilic

West Ham United's Dimitri Payet.
West Ham United's Dimitri Payet.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • West Ham manager Slaven Bilic compared Dimitri Payet to Lionel Messi, after the Frenchman's show-stopping strike earned his side a 1-1 Premier League draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday.

West Ham were trailing to Cristhian Stuani's header at the London Stadium when Payet picked up the ball wide on the left in the 57th minute and spun away from Antonio Barragan.

He jinked past Marten de Roon on the edge of the area and then skirted forlorn challenges by Calum Chambers, Ben Gibson and George Friend before rolling a shot past goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

"It was a great goal, a brilliant individual goal which brought us back into the game," said Bilic, whose side had lost their four previous Premier League matches.

"I don't see many players scoring these type of goals. You see free kicks, you see volleys, scissor kicks, all different types of goals, but this was like Messi's goals.

"It was a brilliant, brilliant moment of magic. But we can't rely on him doing that every week."

This was France international Payet's first league goal of the season. It came two weeks after he set up a goal for Michail Antonio with an outrageous "rabona" cross, where the kicking leg is wrapped around the back of the standing leg, in a 2-4 loss to Watford.

Despite Saturday's point, West Ham are still in the relegation zone, below fourth-bottom Swansea on goal difference.

But it was a result which the Hammers could be satisfied with, said defender James Collins, who added that a much-publicised players' night out helped to "galvanise" them after a terrible start to the season.

Bilic had granted his squad a late night out last Monday as a team-bonding exercise.

Reports of some players being involved in an all-night drinking session surfaced during the week but Collins played them down.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2016, with the headline 'Payet's goal in Messi's class: Bilic'. Print Edition | Subscribe