Under-fire West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has implored his side to salvage their season after the Hammers surged into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals courtesy of a stunning second-half fightback against London rivals Tottenham.
Reports suggested that Bilic entered the Wembley clash with two games to save his job and the outlook appeared bleak for the Croatian as Spurs careered into a commanding two-goal lead courtesy of first-half strikes from Moussa Sissoko and Dele Alli.
With hopes of a cup boost seemingly forlorn, the Hammers initiated a sensational fightback as Andre Ayew netted twice in the space of five minutes before Angelo Ogbonna conjured a winner.
“I am calm,” said Bilic, whose team are 16th in the Premier League following Friday’s defeat to Brighton. “Of course I am glad when we win, especially in this kind of way. This team is very, very, very alive and we are very stubborn in a positive way.
“But now there is no time or place to go large. We have done nothing. We have done a lot, but considering the whole season, we have done nothing. We have to continue like this.
“I told the guys before the game that we showed in training we were full of energy. We could not wait for the game to start and I would hope the Brighton game was a one-off. We have composure and this is the standard of play we expect.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, was less than impressed that his players failed to replicate the desire shown in their previous two matches against Real Madrid and Liverpool.
“We scored two goals and it looked like the game was over but we showed a lack of aggression and conceded three goals in 15 minutes,” said Pochettino. “That can’t happen. It is difficult to accept but after Real Madrid and Liverpool it was difficult to keep the motivation and concentration. We must be more mature at 2-0 up. It’s disappointing.”
Sissoko’s powerful run and finish, combined with Alli’s deflected curler, put Tottenham firmly in the ascendency, but two close-range finishes in quick succession provided a lifeline for West Ham, which Ogbonna seized with a headed clincher after 70 minutes.