Bilic: It was a competitive game

Slaven Bilic declared himself satisfied with the physical condition of his players after Monday evening’s 0-0 draw against Sturm Graz II in the first warm-up match of the pre-season campaign.

The Hammers boss gave each of his players a 45-minute work-out against a young and energetic opposition, and was happy to see everyone come through it unscathed, although admitted that his team will need to improve in front of goal.

“It was as we planned – two sets of 45 minutes as a part of the training programme,” said Slaven. “We trained this morning before the game and the guys have also done a bit of extra running after playing this evening.

“It was a competitive game – Sturm Graz were a very lively team and they can play football. Of course they are at a different level, and we should have scored maybe five or six goals.

“But, to be fair, we are not scoring enough goals in training at the moment, so it was the same in the game, but running-wise it was a good session for us.

“It was a good opponent for this stage but if we are looking strictly at the game, we have to score goals.”

While he hopes to see that side of his team’s game improve in the weeks to come, for now the Croatian is focused fully on increasing fitness levels and is set to give each of his players another 45-minute session against Fulham on Thursday in Graz.

“We planned this part of the pre-season in Austria completely based and focused on the training, so the two games here are a part of the training,” he said.

“On Thursday we have a better opponent in Fulham, but the approach is still the same and it fits around our training. In Germany, we are still going to train hard there but it is going to be based more on the games.”

The boss also revealed that Senegalese midfielder Cheikou Kouyate picked up a knee injury in training last week which is still being assessed but, overall, the trip is going completely to plan.

“The only one problem we’ve had is with Cheikhou, who injured his knee in a very strange and awkward way during training, but apart from that I’m happy with everything,” said Slaven.

“The boys are training hard, they are pushing really hard, the facilities are really good and it is a great place to be.”