Rovers, who played the last 35 minutes with 10 men after Chris Taylor’s sending-off, took the lead from Ben Marshall’s fifth goal in the last six matches, but Victor Moses’ first goal since September 19 — courtesy of an error by goalkeeper Jason Steele — and an exquisite Payet free-kick turned things around before the break.
Emmanuel Emenike added two in the second half and, after Cheikhou Kouyate had seen red, Payet fittingly finished things off, running from halfway for a brilliant individual effort.
Bilic was fully rewarded for naming a strong side, making just four changes from the team which drew with Norwich a week ago, with Payet’s retention key to the victory.
The Frenchman is West Ham’s go-to man and has now had a hand in 16 goals (nine goals, eight assists) in all competitions this season — 10 more than any other player.
“I haven’t seen better players than that. He is also doing the dirty work and on the ball he is up there with Luka Modric from the players I have trained so far,” said Bilic, who coached Modric at international level for Croatia.
“I have to get some poetry lessons to describe his importance to us.”
Bilic did not agree with the red card shown to Kouyate, who sent Blackburn left-back Adam Henley flying as he was about to burst into the penalty area. “From my position I am not happy with that,” he added. “A foul okay, but not a red card so we are going to appeal and I think we have a really strong case.”
The less said about Blackburn’s defending for the equaliser the better. Moses was allowed to run unchallenged from halfway before keeper Jason Steele somehow dived over the winger’s shot.
Taylor was booked for the foul which led to Payet’s goal, and he received a second caution for tripping Moses.
Steele, Marshall, Ward, Duffy, Henley, Bennett, Lenihan, Akpan, Conway (Jackson 59), Taylor, Brown (Watt 78).
Randolph, Antonio, Collins, Ogbonna (Oxford 78), Cresswell, Noble (Song, 73), Kouyate, Obiang (Lanzini 67), Moses, Emenike, Payet.