West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has admitted that there is no excuse for the Hammers crashing out in the Europa League play-off's for a second consecutive season, after their 1-0 defeat to Astra Giurgiu.
Crashing out once again
Optimism was high as the Romanian's arrived at the London Stadium, as the Hammers look to better their performance from that of the 1-1 draw the previous Thursday. However despite their 1-0 win over Bournemouth on the Sunday, Bilic's side lacked any attacking flair in the first period, and were shook by Filipe Teixeira’s late effort.
They improved in the second half as they bombarded the Giurgiu goal, with excellent chances from Jonathan Calleri, Michail Antonio, Ashley Fletcher and Enner Valencia all coming close, but couldn't prevent them crashing out and Bilic shared his disappointment at the defeat.
He began by telling whufc.com: “I would like to congratulate Astra as they deserved it,” but was adamant to the club site “It is a huge frustration because I said before the game that this was one of the most important games of the year for us."
The Croatian was adamant in his statement: "OK, we can always find excuses like missing players and that we should have scored the chances we created and all that, but we didn’t play good. In the first half, we didn’t play with desire as a team, it was all individuals and we were second best," and believes Giurgiu "Took their chance with a goal on the counter-attack. From our point of view, we lost the ball in a very strange way and they took advantage of the situation.”
One bright spark in a dark night
Despite their loss, here was one positive to take from the defeat, with the Hammer completing the signing of midfielder Edmilison Fernandes, he joined from FC Sion for a undisclosed fee, and Bilic shared his delight at the signing.
“He’s a good player who we’ve been watching for a whole year,” Bilic revealed. “He’s very young, a good midfielder and is not only for the future."
Bilic concluded: “He’s very talented and can play in a few positions. He has good pace, good legs, good physique, good skill and a great mentality. He’s a good signing for us.”
West Ham United will take on Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, August 26 with kick-off at 4pm BST.