Hammers appoint Jurcevic as new assistant manager

West Ham United are delighted to confirm the appointment of Nikola Jurcevic as the Club’s new assistant manager.

Jurcevic will be reunited with his former Croatia teammate Slaven Bilic, with whom he has worked previously with the Croatian national side, Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas.

The 49-year-old, who helped his nation reach the quarter-finals of Euro 96 as a player before helping guide Croatia to two major tournaments as assistant to Bilic, completes the new manager’s experienced technical staff, joining first-team coach Edin Terzic, head of performance Miljenko Rak, goalkeeper coach Chris Woods and coaching assistant Julian Dicks.

A versatile midfielder and attacker during his playing days, the Zagreb-born coach is looking forward to getting down to work with the Hammers after being granted a work permit.

Jurcevic said: “I am very happy that I can start work at the Club. I am very motivated for the future and think we have a good team. I hope we will have a very good season.

“I am very excited to work in England because I think that the Premier League is one of the best in the world.

“I have worked with Slaven for a number of years with the Croatian national team, Lokomotiv Moscow and Besiktas. He called me about West Ham and I said yes straight away.

“I know it is a big opportunity for me and I am happy to work in the Premier League, live in London and work for a big club like West Ham.

“I know Slaven well and when I started my career as a coach and was manager in Croatia, Slaven called me when he was national coach and we worked together for six-years. We are good friends but we have a similar view on football and we work really well together.

“I am professional, have a big experience in football having worked in Belgium, Austria, Germany and have played in the big tournaments in Europe. I also have the experience as a coach and will do my best for West Ham. I hope we will be successful.“

Born in Zagreb in the former Yugoslavia in September 1966, Jurcevic came through the ranks at the local club Dinamo in the early 1980s, before moving to local rivals NK Zagreb.

After spells with Belgian club Royal Antwerp and back in his home city with NK Zagreb, Jurcevic enjoyed a successful and, at times, prolific four-season stay with Austrian side SV Austria Salzburg.

The Croatian finished his playing career with a stint in Germany with Freiburg and a second spell with Austria Salzburg, hanging up his boots in 1999.

At international level, Jurcevic was capped 19 times, making his debut in the newly-independent Croatia’s second-ever fixture against Romania in December 1990.

A first of two international goals came along in a friendly win in Israel in 1994, while he also started Croatia’s famous 2-1 Euro 96 qualifying win over Italy in Palermo in November of the same year – a game which also featured Bilic and fellow future Hammers Igor Stimac and Davor Suker.

In December 1995, Jurcevic netted the winning goal as Croatia beat Slovenia 2-1 to finish top of the Euro 96 qualifying group ahead of the Italians and reach the finals for the first time in their short history.

He featured three times at the tournament in England, starting the quarter-final defeat by Germany at Old Trafford.

As a coach, Jurcevic started his career as manager of NK Zagreb before taking up similar posts with Dinamo Zagreb, Austria Salzburg and Slaven Belupo in the early 2000s.

In 2006, he was appointed as an assistant coach under Croatia manager Bilic and former teammate Aljosa Asanovic. Over the next six years, the trio guided The Blazers to Euro 2008 and 2012, and within a whisker of qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

In 2012, Bilic took up a new post at Lokomotiv in Russia, and took Jurcevic with him. The following year, the pair moved to Turkey with Besiktas before the forward joined his long-time boss in east London.