West Ham's Giurgiu draw is a missed opportunity, insists Bilic

Slaven Bilic said that West Ham's 1-1 draw with Astra Giurgiu was good, but not good enough.

West Ham's Giurgiu draw is a missed opportunity, insists Bilic
Slaven Bilic on the touchline in West Ham's 1-1 draw with Astra Giurgiu | Photo: Getty Images

West Ham United manager, Slaven Bilic has admitted that that his side have missed an early opportunity to reach the group stages of the UEFA Europa League after their 1-1 draw with Astra Giurgiu.

Should have grabbed it with two hands

​The Hammers were just two matches away from the Europa League group stages going into Thursdays' contest, and dominated proceedings with good chances from Jonathan Calleri and Michail Antonio being passed up before Mark Noble gave them the lead from the penalty spot.

They had their away goal, but were denied the win seven minutes from time with Denis Alibec's equaliser, and Bilic shared his disappointment at the result after the game.

“We're disappointed with the equaliser because we probably had the game under control,” said Bilic. “They put us under pressure and took risks, which gave us space up front."

The Croatian coach admitted: “They scored a good goal, but from a set piece which is cheap from our point of view," and believes that the soft goal "made it especially hard to take because a couple of minutes before we had a clear-cut chance when Marcus Browne went on a great counter-attack".

Bilic added, “We should have scored and put the game to bed, but we didn’t and it’s 1-1 so we’re not happy with the result."

He did, however, find some positives, "But it’s not a bad result because we had a mixed team. It’s not a great result but it’s a good result and I’m confident about next week.”

Jonathan Calleri in action during West Ham's 1-1 draw with Astra Giurgiu | Photo: Getty Images
Jonathan Calleri in action during West Ham's 1-1 draw with Astra Giurgiu | Photo: Getty Images

Big blow

The match in Romania saw the debut of Calleri, who had just secured his loan move to the London Stadium. Bilic praised the Argentine's performance, but also talked about the big loss of Andre Ayew, who has been confirmed to be out for four months.

He said: “We wanted to introduce him in this game and not wait for Bournemouth, we had a couple of injuries and we wanted to save Andy Carroll and Jonathan played good." The Croat continued, "He had one really good chance and their goalkeeper saved it brilliantly.”

The manager observed, and admitted: “He doesn’t know the players and all that because he’s only been here a short time and all that, but he showed great quality."

Bilic then turned his attentions to Ayew: “With Andre, we know he is our record signing and he is out for four months and it’s a big blow, but the time will pass and he’s a good healer." He concluded, "He is very professional and he’s going to be back later on this year, we hope."

West Ham United will take on AFC Bournemouth at the London Stadium on Sunday, August 21 with kick-off at 4pm BST.