VIDEO: Slaven Bilic press conference

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic faced the media ahead of the Europa League tie against FC Astra on Thursday night.


Slaven, I would imagine that you want Thursday to go more smoothly than the last round?

“For that time it was good training for us, for the guys in Malta. Of course we are going to try but we are playing a good team.

“The Romanians have a good side, it’s a good club, they are investing money. They have a good mixture of players. Last year they knocked out Lyon, it’s going to be a good test for us."

Are you hoping to get a good enough lead in the first leg so you can rest players before the Arsenal game?

“We are hoping, but the most likely thing is that it is going to be a two legged game. It can be the other way round, but either way it would have to be an exceptional game for both teams. Exceptionally good for one team, and bad for another.

“But as I said they are a good side, and we are a good side as well, so I am hoping to rest a few players . We are going to try to do it, but to be fair we are not expecting an easy ride.”

How are you finding the process of having to prepare for a Premier League season, gettingt to know your new team, play in the Europa League , and get everybody fit?

“Well I’ve said it a few times already, and I don’t want to repeat myself, but we are taking it day by day, and week in week out.

“It’s not ideal, but there’s no point in moaning over it, we just have to cope with the situation, and that’s it, no excuses.”

You must be finding out a lot about your players very quickly though?

“You have to be quick but I’ve done my homework on the players. These European Qualification games, are not ideal, looking at the big picture you’re getting the best from your players individually and as a team, so in that case it was good.

“We didn’t have a first team or a second team, it was a mixture, some of the players had a longer summer holiday than others and, have only trained together for the first time as unit last week, and this is not ideal.

"But, as I said, I am very optimistic, and we are going to be ready for the start of the Premier League Season."

What is the latest about a new striker coming to West Ham?

“As I said before, we are not panicking, but we are trying to sign one. We need to find one that best fits the team.

“I’m happy with my squad. The transfer window is still open just like every other club, so there is still the possibility that some players will come and some will go.”