Opposition View - Astra Giurgiu

 Astra Giurgiu manager Marius Sumudica says his side have come to London to attack ahead of Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play-off round second-leg tie with West Ham United.

The Romanian champions need to score if they are to progress to the group stage, after the first leg finished 1-1, and the enigmatic Sumudica is not one to go on the defensive.

Speaking exclusively to whufc.com, the Astra boss also paid tribute to the strength in depth of their opponents ahead of another exciting match at London Stadium.

Marius, last year you brought Astra Giurgiu to the Boleyn Ground and this season you bring your team to London Stadium, so are you relishing the experience?

“It’s a bit of a strange feeling when you train in an empty stadium, as we did on Wednesday evening, but on Thursday it will be a very hot atmosphere!

“We know how it was at the Boleyn Ground with the fans standing behind their team and pushing them, so we expect the same here, but we are ready and well-prepared.

“We have a good team, with experienced players, most of whom are around 30-years-old and well prepared to take their chance again this year.”

You obviously beat West Ham a year ago. Will that have any effect this time around?

“Obviously it helps that we’re unbeaten in three games against West Ham, but on Thursday they will be the favourites playing on home soil with all their fans behind them.

“They have a great manager in Slaven Bilic and a great team, but we will try our best to win.”

Are there any West Ham players you are particularly wary of?

“There is no one particular player who I would mention, because every player in West Ham’s squad has the value and the worth to make a big difference here.

“We have to concentrate to neutralise their entire eleven, rather than concentrating on only one particular player. That’s what we’re aiming to do.”

How will you approach the game, knowing you need to score after it finished 1-1 in Romania?

“We know we will not qualify if it finishes 0-0 on the night, so we’re here to attack. We can’t come to defend because we have to score.

“We also know that we need to keep a clean sheet if possible, so if we then score a goal we will progress, but it’s very difficult not to concede a goal here at West Ham.”