Belfast Telegraph

Fed-up Bilic won't fight to clear Kouyate's ban

Slaven Bilic will not appeal Cheikhou Kouyate's controversial red card in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. The West Ham boss said Kouyate's challenge on Dwight Gayle was not even worthy of a yellow card and successfully appealed against the same player's dismissal at Blackburn in the FA Cup in February.

But he cut a frustrated figure after the 10 men were pegged back by Gayle's equaliser to dent their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

"Will we appeal? I am fed up with appealing," said Bilic.

"But I'm disappointed. This is the fourth time this has happened. We will go on fighting until the end of the season."

Kouyate will now miss Saturday's visit of Arsenal, although Bilic could welcome back defenders Sam Byram and James Collins from injury.

The Hammers looked set to stay a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City after Manuel Lanzini cancelled out Damien Delaney's early header before a stunning Dimitri Payet free-kick put the hosts ahead.

But Gayle struck when Angelo Ogbonna and Winston Reid failed to deal with Pape Souare's cross. Palace are now without a win in 14 but boss Alan Pardew believes they need four more points to stay up.

"I think, with our goal difference, we'll need 38 points," he said. "We've got ourselves into a bit of trouble but this was a great result."

Belfast Telegraph

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