Dinamo Zagreb coach Zoran Mamic thanked his compatriot and West Ham manager Slaven Bilic for helping the Croatian title holders beat Arsenal 2-1 in their Champions League Group F match on Wednesday.
Bilic, whose side beat London rivals Arsenal 2-0 in the Premier League’s opening round, passed on valuable advice to Mamic ahead of the clash.
“We scouted Arsenal well and we found information given to us by Bilic and his assistant Nikola Jurcevic very useful,” Mamic told reporters. “But my players did a great job too.
“I knew we could stay on the same par physically with a team uncomfortable against rivals who can keep possession.”
Arsenal were static when defending set pieces while they also lacked creativity in midfield and bite up front, while Dinamo’s attack of El Hilal Arabi Soudani and Junior Fernandes and Marko Pjaca threatened with their pace and mobility.
Soudani carved out Dinamo’s opener with a defence-splitting pass which to led an own goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain while Fernandes produced a thumping header after a corner.
“Arsenal is used to playing English teams whose market value is much bigger than ours but these rivals nurture a different style, Mamic said.
“We surprised them. I said before this is the best Dinamo outfit in the last 10 years and many raised their eyebrows but tonight’s result and performance showed I was right.”