Joey O’Brien eyeing great European nights with West Ham

The Hammers start their Europa League campaign next Thursday and are looking forward to a European adventure.

West Ham defender Joey O’Brien has told the club’s official website he is looking to create great European nights next season.

The Hammers are embarking on their first European adventure since 2006, having qualified for the Europa League via the Fair Play League, although they will have to start off in the first round of qualifying.

They take on FC Lusitans of Andorra next Thursday, meaning they are starting their season much earlier than many of their rivals and O’Brien says the main focus is reaching the competition proper first and foremost.

"It’s an early start for the early stages of European competition," he told

"The aim is to get into the Europa League proper and have some great nights throughout the season around Europe. You have to get through these first few games, which will be the hardest at the start of pre-season. They’re hard games but hopefully we can get off to a good start with a good win on Thursday."

Tough decisions for Slaven Bilic

That extremely early start to the campaign will certainly be a huge challenge facing new manager Slaven Bilic this summer.

Unlike in Europe, the Europa League seems to have a negative effect on Premier League sides, with it having had a notable impact on a number of teams over the years, with Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in particular suffering last season.

The Croatian was hired to improve West Ham in the league, though, and bring about a better style of football to boot, meaning it will be interesting to see which he prioritises come the middle of the season when tiredness will likely kick in.

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