Article

I love Bilic, but I let him down – Arnautovic

23 September 2018 11:24

Marko Arnautovic thinks he let Slaven Bilic down and his poor form did little to prevent the Croatian from being sacked as West Ham boss last November.

Arnautovic joined West Ham for a reported £24million from Stoke City ahead of last season, but he endured a difficult start.

The Austrian did not score his first Premier League goal for the club until December, just over a month after Bilic was dismissed.

Some critics pointed the finger at Arnautovic, with his lack of form highlighted as a potential contributor to Bilic's downfall, particularly given he went on to score 11 times in the league under David Moyes.

Arnautovic insists it is harsh to suggest Bilic lost his job because of him, though he accepts he probably let the former Hammers player and manager down.

"People were hammering me," Arnautovic told reporters. "They said I didn't track back. I watched the video and I tracked back.

"I was always with my full-back. People expected more because I came here for a lot of money. I needed to do some special things.

"It would be harsh to say he [Bilic] was sacked because of me. Maybe there were a couple of occasions when I let him down.

"I have a lot of respect for Slaven. I love him as a human being and as a coach. I let him down a little bit and I think he thought that as well.

"When he saw me playing as a striker and scoring goals, it wasn't easy for him."

Arnautovic arrived in England in 2013 with a reputation which portrayed him as a loose cannon, both on and off the field.

His former Inter team-mate Mario Balotelli did little to help, saying Arnautovic was going to make him look like a "boring guy", but the 29-year-old feels he has matured in England because he was desperate to prove such comments to be wrong for his children.

"I'm more beautiful, I think, than I was," he added. "I've grown up a lot in England. I've changed a lot because I am a father.

"I have two daughters. When I arrived, everybody was saying: 'The new Balotelli's here'.

"I said to myself: 'You can't go like that, when afterwards your daughter will read everything about you and think that her dad was a crazy man'. My family helped me a lot."

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