West Ham’s Slaven Bilic attracts ire of Lusitans boss Xavi Roura
Manager of Andorran minnows angered as opposite number watches from stands
Slaven Bilic watched West Ham’s Europa League qualifier against Andorra’s Lusitans from the stands, angering opposite number Xavi Roura. Photograph: PA
Slaven Bilic finished his first night back at West Ham United by being described as “The Special One” but it was not in a good way. Xavi Roura, the manager of the Andorran part-timers Lusitans, practically spat out the words as he raged at Bilic for a perceived lack of respect.
Bilic was appointed as the new West Ham manager on 9 June but having only linked up with his squad last Friday, at a training camp in Ireland, he made the decision to place the academy manager, Terry Westley, in charge for this Europa League first qualifying round tie.
Bilic was introduced to the home crowd before the game and thereafter watched from the stands as West Ham cantered to a straightforward 3-0 victory, in which Reece Oxford became the club’s youngest ever player at 16 years and 198 days. Roura, though, saw red at Bilic’s approach.
“Bilic showed a lack of respect by not being on the bench,” Roura said. “It makes me sad, in a country where fair play was invented, that something like this could happen. I think he must have thought our team was not important for him to be present. I imagine that he has won many titles and maybe he thought he was the Special One.
“The minimum thing I can hope for is that with a club like West Ham, this won’t happen again. I expected him to be on the bench. Should he be there for the second leg? He is the West Ham coach so yes, the Special One should come to Andorra.”
Roura should prepare for disappointment. Bilic flew in from West Ham’s training camp in Cork in the afternoon and will head back there on Friday – to work with the club’s senior players, who have just begun their pre-season – and it appears that he will remain there rather than travel to Andorra for next Thursday’s return tie.
Westley was asked whether Bilic would attend the second leg. “I wouldn’t have thought so with all he has going on,” he replied. “It’s impossible. He can’t be in two places.”
Westley, though, made the point that Bilic had been in the dressing room with the players before and after the game, and said that West Ham’s starting line-up, which was studded with first-team players, reflected Bilic’s respect for Lusitans and the competition.