Adrian relishing European adventure

The Hammers No13 believes the Europa League will make this season extra special
Fan-favourite Adrian enjoyed his return to action at the Boleyn Ground during the Hammers’ 1-0 win over Birkirkara FC. 

James Tomkins’ last minute goal means the Irons will take a slender lead into the second leg in Malta next week. 

Despite the narrow score line, in truth, the hosts were in full control and the Spaniard was rarely tested. Aside from one nervous moment when forward Liliu flashed a drive just wide, the No13 was by and large a spectator, along with 33,000 other West Ham fans. 

Speaking after the first leg, Adrian insisted that 1-0 was a good result for the Hammers: “It was a difficult game, we were playing against eleven men sitting in front of the goal. We passed it side to side but we couldn’t find a goal. We kept on going and eventually we got what we deserved.”

Despite the early return and a busy pre-season schedule, the No13 continued to explain his belief that it would help him and his teammates in the long-term.

“It’s a good pre-season training for us and helps us get ready for the season. We know it’ll be a long season but we are prepared for that.

“It’s always good to be tested because you need to be at your best in the Premier League, every week. Official games helped you to get to that level. 

“A lot of things have changed since last season. The new manager has got a different passing style and we need time to adapt to it. This is why we need more games before the Premier League starts.” 

While in some quarters, involvement in the Europa League is considered undesirable, Adrian stressed that that is not the case inside the Claret and Blue dressing room.  

The two-time Hammer of the Year runner up insisted that the return of European football to east London could only be seen as a good thing.   

“We want to go as far as we can in Europe. It’s an important competition for us, it’s a test but as a player, you want these games. 

“We need to be strong and be ready for a big season. It’s the final season here at the Boleyn, so it’s an emotional season for the fans and an important one for everyone at the Club. 

“We want to finish as high in the league as possible for our final season.”