July 24, 2015 09:22:29 UK
West Ham head coach Slaven Bilic hopes his side have learned some lessons from their Europa League tie with Birkirkara, which went all the way to penalties.
The Hammers eventually prevailed 5-3 in a shootout after the second qualifying round tie ended 1-1 on aggregate, with the Londoners moving on to take on Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu.
This will help us in the matches against the Romanians, because we have to learn from this experience.
And Bilic believes that some positives have come from a tough night in Malta, saying: “It would have been embarrassing, no matter the heat or that we were without many players, but we overcame the circumstances.
“This will help us in the matches against the Romanians, because we have to learn from this experience.”
He added on the club’s official website: “The most important thing is that we are through.
“We had a man sent off and we had to adjust to that, but the guys showed their spirit and commitment and the most important thing is that we got no injuries and we have got through.”
And Bilic was even more pleased with the resolve shown by his penalty-takers, with Mark Noble, Mauro Zarate, Aaron Cresswell, Joey O’Brien and Diego Poyet all netting from 12 yards.
The Croatian concluded: “When it came to the penalties anything could happen, but they were very confident when I asked them.
“That is good because I have seen the character and confidence in their eyes. They were all brilliantly taken.”
The Hammers are 67.00 to win the Europa League this season, with Liverpool 15.00 and Southampton 26.00.
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