Despite the fact that he manages cross-town rivals West Ham United, which makes us predisposed to not liking him, Slaven Bilic almost always comes across in his public comments as a genuine, smart, and realistic guy — qualities that are not always in abundance among football managers.
Whether he’s acting as a pundit, like he did to great acclaim during Euro 2016, or just talking before and after matches against Chelsea, Bilic is usually worth listening to. Ahead of Monday night’s game, he’s talked a bit about Victor Moses, who played for him on loan last season.
“His potential, his characteristics, his strength, were always amazing. His pace, quality on the ball and stamina is basically top, top class.”
“I remember once we had training and I spoke to Payet during last season. It was him I think and a couple of other players. Payet said that Victor, including himself, is the best player that we have in West Ham. I mean seriously. It was about time to show what he had in himself and explode in a positive way – he has done it. He looks on the pitch very concentrated and very serious. He became a tough player.”
“I am glad for him. He was our player and we enjoyed that year. He said that he also had good memories of his time here. So I am really glad for him. Of course he had it in him.”
So why didn’t Bilic and West Ham exercise their option to acquire Moses on a permanent basis? In addition to the clues above (“potential was always amazing”; “about time he showed what he had in himself”; “became a tough player”), Bilic hints that it might have been simply a question of circumstance and motivation.
“Sometimes you have to push him to do it day in day out and now he is doing it.”
-Slaven Bilic; source: Mail
Another success story brought to us by Antonio Conte then, with Moses just putting pen to paper earlier this week on a brand new four-year contract and associated significant pay rise. From serial loanee to key starter at a brand new position, Moses has surprised most, if not all, except maybe Bilic, Payet, and of course Moses himself.