Bilic said: “In some games the other team will double up on him [Payet] and against Aston Villa, in the first half, he was marked very tightly. It was easier for them before the break because he was, for most of the time, standing out on the left. We told him at half-time that left wing is only his starting position — we wanted him to go inside and roam — and then it became much more difficult for them to mark him.”
Payet was struggling to have an impact in the first-half of the game with Villa, and the Hammers themselves were struggling to break down Remi Garde’s team.
They had set up explicitly to defend having lost Jordan Ayew to a red card, and Payet was being man marked out of the game.
Bilic told him at half-time to roam around more, playing a free role rather than sticking onto the left-wing as he had been doing, and Payet’s influence started to grow.
In the second period, he was picking up the ball all over the pitch, and although he didn’t have a direct role in either goal, Payet became much more dangerous when the Villa defenders were struggling to mark him.
Payet has been one of the stars of the Premier League season, but in recent weeks he has been struggling to have the same sort of impact as he was in the opening months of the campaign as he is being marked much more tightly.
To solve this, Bilic has granted Payet a more free role in his tactical set-up, and he will be hoping to return to his former performance levels in the coming weeks.