West Ham vs NK Domzale: Slaven Bilic pleased as Hammers start life in new home with Europa League win

5 Aug

Slaven Bilic insisted West Ham must consign Upton Park to the past after seeing his team open the London Stadium with a 3-0 Europa League victory against NK Domzale.


Two first-half goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and a second-half strike by summer signing Sofiane Feghouli secured passage to the play-off round and a place in Friday’s draw.

But with West Ham finally starting life in their surroundings, Bilic admitted he was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere at the former Olympic Stadium.

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“There is no point comparing it to Upton Park, it’s a completely different thing,” Bilic said. “But it was a great atmosphere and I’m not afraid of the new stadium.

“I wasn’t worried, but I didn’t know what the atmosphere would be like.

“People were talking about other games and this was the first time I could judge it and it was more than I expected.”

Having suffered a 2-1 defeat against Domzale in Slovenia in last week’s first-leg, West Ham went into the return facing a second successive exit at the Europa League third qualifying stage having been beaten by Romanians Astra Giurgiu last season.

But a comprehensive performance banished any prospect of another embarrassment on the new stadium’s opening night.

“It’s a good feeling,” Bilic said. “We played well in a way against a team that could harm us.

“We are not going to over the top about our performance but for a game like this it was good. We were fit, we played good football and for most of the time, we were in control. It was a mature performance and we are one week fresher.”

Bilic, meanwhile, admitted he will attempt to add to his squad in the final month of the transfer window.

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Dimitri Payet is yet to return to West Ham after reaching the final of the European Championships with France this summer (Getty)

“If you have a look at today’s team-sheet you can see we had some very, very young players on the bench,” he said. “So we are far away from that. Perhaps we are going to try and get a couple of players. We have also Ogbonna, Payet, Collins coming back.

“I said a few days ago that playing in the Europa League definitely lowers your chances in the Premier League. It happened to Liverpool and Tottenham last year.

“It’s all about a balance. We will have four or five games before the international break but hopefully we will have a minimum of five players to add before then.”

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