West Ham’s unsung hero now ‘massively important’ with Spurs up next

PUBLISHED: 16:12 27 February 2016 | UPDATED: 16:13 27 February 2016

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic (left) and Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park,

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic (left) and Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park,

PA Wire

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic admits Michail Antonio has now become a vital member of his team.

After arriving in the summer from Nottingham Forest for around £7million, Antonio struggled to make any impact, being left on the bench for most part by Bilic.

The London-born winger has filled in at right back in recent weeks but was back in midfield and back in the goals as he scored the only one in a 1-0 win over Sunderland this lunchtime.

Five goals in his last seven games at Upton Park has made Antonio undroppable and Bilic has been impressed.

“Michail probably dreamed about the Premier League for five or six years and then he had to wait for his chance,” he said.

“Now he’s become a player of massive importance to this club. He is enjoying it and we are enjoying it too. He deserves it all.”

“He deserves it for his work rate, his attitude and how he is on a daily basis.

“Our aim is to win as many games as possible and also to entertain people. Where that takes us if we succeed in those aims we’ll see”

“We shouldn’t be too cute or sexy but if we can keep improving then who knows where we can finish. OK, praise to the players because we created the most chances and scored a great goal and hit the post twice.”

Antonio will more than likely fill in at right back against Spurs and Everton with Sam Byram now banned for two games.

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