West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic is waiting to discover the severity of the injury suffered by attacker Michail Antonio and insists he did not gamble on the player's fitness by starting him in his side's 3-2 defeat by Tottenham on Saturday (23 September).
Antonio had to be withdrawn midway through the first-half against Spurs after suffering a groin injury, which seemingly turned the tie on its head. Bilic saw fit to change his team's system, replacing Antonio with Andy Carroll, who changed the dynamic of the Hammers' attack and had a hand in both of Tottenham's first-half goals.
Antonio had only recently returned from injury, but Bilic was keen to stress that he passed a fitness test the day before his side's clash against Tottenham and also pointed out that the injury was not sustained in the "same spot" as the previous one. The West Ham boss was unable to provide further detail on the seriousness of the injury and faces an anxious wait for the scan results to bare all.
"It's a groin, he fell a bit. I just spoke to him, he didn't pull it big time but we have to scan it first to see how big it is, how bad it is," Bilic was quoted as saying by Football.London.
Asked if the Irons took a risk in starting the attacker, Bilic said; "No we didn't. We were very cautious and he passed the test, not today but yesterday. It was all clear, so we are not taking those kinds of risks here knowing that it can harm in in the long term, it just happened. It's not the same spot as before."
A brace from Harry Kane and a lovely Christian Eriksen strike seemed to wrap up the points for Tottenham with half an hour left to play, but West Ham can take credit for their spirited fightback. Javier Hernandez and Cheikhou Kouyate gave the Hammers hope, magnified by the dismissal of Tottenham's Serge Aurier, but in the end it wasn't to be.
Despite suffering defeat, Bilic was proud of his West Ham stars for refusing to cave in when they were 3-0 down and was delighted by the characters displayed by his players against a perceived contender for the Premier League title.
"That is one satisfaction, that we don't stop, we continued to do it and stay in the system and turn the game around so, OK, fair enough," Bilic said.
"I told the players that they showed character against a top team, if we had a bit more time we could have turned it around. We could have scored at the end, but we didn't but as you said, it's a good thing."