Jurcevic - We were not satisfied

Nikola Jurcevic admitted NK Domzale deserved to earn a UEFA Europa League third qualifying round first leg advantage over West Ham United in Slovenia.

The home side secured a 2-1 victory over the Hammers thanks to Matic Crnic’s double, with Mark Noble’s penalty snatching a valuable away goal in between the winger’s own spot-kick and individual run and accurate finish.

Assistant manager Jurcevic – in charge for the night while Slaven Bilic served completed a two-match UEFA touchline ban – conceded that the PrvaLiga’s third-best side had been the better team at Stadion Stozice and said his own side would need to improve to progress.

The second leg will take place next Thursday evening at the London Stadium, where a 54,000 crowd will hope to see the English team turn things around in their first fixture at their new home.

“First I want to say well done to Domzale because they won today and they were really good,” said former Croatia international Jurcevic. “Our performance was not so good, and maybe I can say it was average in the first half and it was 1-1. We were not satisfied with this result and in the second half was played bad and Domzale was the better team and won 2-1.

“OK, we were maybe not in our top form because it was our first official game and we were without some very important players and only had young players on the bench, but this is not an excuse, I must say.

“Domzale was better and I hope and I am sure we will be better next week. It will be very difficult but I’m optimistic and I hope it will be a different game in the Olympic Stadium. It’s a special game because it’s the first game at the Olympic Stadium with about 54,000 spectactors.

“We must be better, we must win this game in our stadium because we also have big ambitions in Europe, but it will be very tough because Domzale showed they are a good team. We must improve next week, with more players back in the squad, and I hope we can win the first game at the Olympic Stadium.”
We must be better, we must win this game in our stadium because we also have big ambitions in Europe, but it will be very tough because Domzale showed they are a good team
Jurcevic stated that West Ham will have to delve into the transfer market to add reinforcements after losing Turkey winger Gokhan Tore to a knee injury.

Summer loan signing Tore joins Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini in the treatment room, while the assistant boss also admitted Euro 2016 stars Angelo Ogbonna, James Collins and Dimitri Payet are unlikely to feature in the return game with Domzale.

Despite those setbacks, the former Croatia and Besiktas No2 insisted that the Hammers are desperate to reach the Europa League group stages after falling short a year ago.

“We have a new situation as it’s the first year in a new Stadium and we have big ambitions for Europe,” he said. “The Premier League is the most important, but we have absolutely big ambitions, we want to win and we will do all we can in the Olympic Stadium to go to the Play-off round and go to the group stage.

“It’s difficult to say which players will play because Gokhan Tore was injured in training on Monday and he must have a scan. Maybe we will possibly do something in the transfer market because we need some players in some positions, because Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini are injured and cannot play for a long time.

“Next week, Angelo Ogbonna and James Collins will be in training so we maybe will have some more players, or maybe we will have the same squad.

“Tore has hurt his knee, but we are not sure how serious, It was a very easy training, but after five minutes he felt some pain in his knee. He will have a scan on Friday and we hope it will not be serious.

“With Lanzini, we don’t have exact information. He will come back from America, where he wanted to play in the Olympic Games for Argentina. We don’t know, but we think he will not be fit for the next game against Domzale.”