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Football Hammers getting ‘back to where we want to be’

West Ham easily won this third-round League Cup tie on Tuesday night without ever really getting out of second gear.

A poor Bolton side were quickly behind in the fourth minute as a corner driven in from the right by Marko Arnautovic was met by the head of Angelo Ogbonna coming in at the back post.

The Hammers then dominated proceedings, with Andre Ayew missing two good chances and Arnautovic lazily lobbing over when through on goal.

The second goal did not come until the 30th minute, when Arnautovic broke down the left to square the ball for the incoming Diafra Sakho to place his shot in the right-hand corner of the net.

The second half was a poor affair, with the home side failing to force home the advantage with the avalanche of goals that should have resulted. The one bright moment being a sweet 25-yard strike from left back Arthur Masuaku, which swerved into the top right hand corner in injury time.

Hammers manager Slaven Bilic was satisfied with the result, which continues his own rehabilitation from zero to hero — a process that could be complete with a victory over Spurs on Saturday.

The manager noted that this win, plus the four points gained in the past two games of the Premier League, has seen the club getting “back where we want to be.”

Bilic gave qualified praise to the performance of Arnautovic, while insisting he wants to see more.

The manager was far more fulsome in his praise of 18-year-old defender Declan Rice who put in an assured performance at centre back. “Declan Rice has everything to be a really really good player. I’m very very pleased with him,” said Bilic, who believes he can make it as a centre back or holding midfield player.  

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