Bilic - We are still going to have a big season

Slaven Bilic was bitterly disappointed to see his side suffer a 2-1 defeat against AFC Astra Giurgiu and see their Europa League journey come to an end, but is still predicting a big season for West Ham United.

Despite taking an early lead through a fine goal from summer signing Manuel Lanzini, the Hammers failed to hold on and two goals from Constantin Budescu saw the Romanian side come away with a memorable victory.

Bilic says he was proud of the effort and commitment that his players showed during the game and says they will learn a lot from the experience of playing in Europe.

The West Ham manager stands by his decision to leave a number of first-team players in England ahead of the opening Premier League game against Arsenal on Sunday and feels this is going to be a big season for the east London Club.

Bilic said: “We had a good game and started well when we scored the goal. It was a shame that we conceded a cheap goal because until that moment we were controlling the game and I was expecting us to score another one because Astra looked really nervous and started to panic.

“But we conceded that goal and then another one. Obviously we are disappointed to have gone out. We had some youngsters in the team but mostly they were players we will count on.

“It is a good experience for a few of the youngsters but some of the guys who played tonight showed us they are going to be very useful.

“We have a big season ahead of us which starts on Sunday and we are going to be good in the Premier League. I am very confident about that.”