Bilic hails cup hero Payet as ‘up there’ with Real’s Modric
WEST HAM manager Slaven Bilic likened playmaker Dimitri Payet to Real Madrid’s Luka Modric after the Frenchman inspired their 5-1 FA Cup win at Blackburn.
Rovers, who played the last 35 minutes with 10 men after Chris Taylor’s sending-off, took the lead from Ben Marshall’s fifth goal in the last six matches, but Victor Moses’ first goal since September 19 – courtesy of an error by goalkeeper Jason Steele – and an exquisite Payet free-kick turned things around before the break.
Emmanuel Emenike added two in the second half and, after Cheikhou Kouyate had been dismissed, Payet fittingly finished things off with a brilliant individual effort.
“I haven’t seen better players than that. He is also doing the dirty work and on the ball he is up there with Luka Modric from the players I have trained so far,” said Bilic, who coached Modric at international level for Croatia.
Blackburn manager Paul Lambert said: “Up until the second goal I thought we were doing really well. We got the goal and made a fist of it.
“The first goal was the centre of the goal and Jason nine times out of 10 would have saved it. He has been excellent for us this season, but he will know he should have done better. The second goal is a terrific free-kick.
“In the second half we started well and then Taylor gets the sending-off and that changes the game.”
Crystal Palace ended Tottenham’s hopes of the treble with an unexpected 1-0 win at White Hart Lane that took them into the FA Cup quarter-finals.
An unlikely goal on a rare start for Martin Kelly proved enough to secure a victory that will lift the mood that had been settling at Palace and inflict a rare disappointing note on Spurs’ so-far promising season. Reading v Crystal Palace, Everton v Chelsea, Arsenal or Hull v Watford, Shrewsbury or Manchester United v West Ham.