Written by Katie S @flump9
A topic that I have seen discussed a lot this week, is about certain players’ attitudes and the reason behind their mind-sets. The main man that has been discussed is Michail Antonio and some of the comments riled me up somewhat, so I thought I best get writing.
I am a great admirer of Antonio, he isn’t the most technically gifted player, but I have always regarded him as one the most valuable members of West Ham’s squad. When he came on the field against Crystal Palace on Saturday, I was saying to my Dad how strong he is and how much that benefits the team. What he did in the dying second was categorically inexcusable. I am not blaming him for the result, at the end of the day it is a team performance and we cannot say we were unlucky, we were dreadful the second half and we could have easily lost the match. Nevertheless, his actions were mindless, lazy, unprofessional and gave the impression he simply did not care.
I would hate to start believing that he does not care, but some people deem this is true and that Bilic is at fault. I have always thought fondly of Slav but I believe his time is up, still regardless of all of that, I cannot possibly apportion any blame on Slav for Antonio’s actions at the end of the game. Regardless of what is going on off of the pitch, whether he does not respect Slav any longer, or simply is unhappy at West Ham United, Antonio has to take responsibility for his mistake.
Lots of people say that Bilic should not have made Antonio play as a right wing-back and you could tell that he was unhappy about being brought on in this position. I could never understand why Bilic insisted on playing Michail in the position, however, if you are brought on in the 62nd minute of the game, you put a shift in. I don’t care what position you are playing in, it is a basic principal of the game, shield the ball, do whatever you can to ensure you protect the lead, do not pass back to the only opposition player in the box. I have also seen others say that he was not fully fit, I watched him in the warm-up and he looked fine to me, I am not claiming to be an expert, but his error was not down to fitness. It was an individual mistake and one Michail has to live with.
Even if Slav has lost the players, do players not have professional pride any longer? Put it this way, I get paid a fraction of what any of the West Ham players receive, I get absolutely no thanks on a daily basis, I get treated like I am a nobody, but regardless of all of that I still work hard every day and do the best I can possibly do. Why? Because I have pride in myself.
You can blame Slav for many things happening at the moment, but for me a players’ individual mistake is not one of them. Yes, negativity surrounding the club can’t be helping their mentality, but if they have any respect for themselves and the fans, they have to put that out of their mind and focus on the game.
I am not blaming Antonio for the loss, but I also won’t blame Bilic for Antonio’s indefensible mistake. They are a team and that includes the manager – therefore they lost as a team. Something is clearly wrong at the moment and I think there must be bigger problems than we realise. A change is needed, but in the meantime my message to the team is……..
“I respect you, (most of) the fans respect you, but it works two ways. Go out and play with pride, if not for Slav, the fans or West Ham, but for yourself.”
@flump9 on Twitter