Slaven Bilic pleased with West Ham’s ‘mature performance’ in Europa League victory over Domzale

5 Aug

Slaven Bilic saluted a job well done after West Ham avoided a false start at the Olympic Stadium.

The Hammers christened their new home with a routine 3-0 Europa League win over Slovenian side NK Domzale.

Cheikhou Kouyate scored twice and new signing Sofiane Feghouli opened his account as West Ham, who left Upton Park at the end of last season, secured a 4-2 aggregate win to reach the play-offs for the group stages.

Four years to the day since Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford wowed the nation on Super Saturday at London 2012, the stadium finally welcomed its new tenants and West Ham could scarcely have wished for more obliging opposition as they overturned last week’s shock 2-1 first-leg loss in Ljubljana.

“It’s a good feeling, we played well but we ain’t going to go overboard,” said Hammers boss Bilic.

“It was difficult psychologically for us but for the stage we are at we played really good; we were fit, aggressive and played good football.

“We could have scored more goals, but it was a very mature performance. We played badly in the first leg but a week later we are fresher and closer to the season.

“And the atmosphere? I didn’t know what it would be like. This was the first time we could judge it and it was more than I expected. It’s loud.”

West Ham’s new abode was a 54,000 sell-out despite not looking quite the finished product, with a hastily-laid mixture of astroturf and tarpaulin covering the athletics track.

SEE ALSO: Watch all the goals from the Hammers’ 3-0 win here

The team needs a little fine-tuning as well, missing Euro 2016 stars Dimitri Payet, Angelo Ogbonna and James Collins as well as the injured Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini.

Nevertheless, it did not take long for the players to settle into their new surroundings, with Kouyate grabbing his slice of history after just eight minutes thanks to a neat backheel from Sam Byram’s scuffed shot.

Kouyate grabbed the second, and edged West Ham ahead in the tie, in the 25th minute when Andy Carroll nodded down Michail Antonio’s cross into his path for a low finish.

Domzale still knew one goal would force extra time but they could only muster up a couple of forays into West Ham territory, with Benjamin Morel firing their best chance wide.

Instead Algerian winger Feghouli raced onto Noble’s pass nine minutes from time and crashed in the killer third to prolong West Ham’s European adventure for at least one more round.


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