Five things we learned from West Ham's Europa League win over FC Lusitans

West Ham Upton Park

Slaven Bilic got his West Ham United career off to a winning start but what did we learn from the 3-0 Europa League victory over FC Lusitans?

The Hammers qualified for Europe through the backdoor thanks to the FIFA Fair Play rankings which was great for the club and fans.

But it means the players have officially had the shortest summer break in Premier League history and has not given new boss Bilic much time to settle in before playing competitive football.

He chose to watch this one from the stands and could have left himself open to criticism but given the standard of the opposition it is easy to see why.

West Ham won at a canter to effectively end the two-legged tie.

But did we learn much from the game?

1) The Europa League could be the best thing that has happened to the club for years

When the Hammers were confirmed as England's fourth representatives in the Europa League, joining Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, there was much excitement amongst fans who last tasted European football nine years ago.

With a new manager coming in and the potential to play as many as 23 extra matches this season should they go all the way, some pundits feel the Europa League could actually hinder West Ham's chances in 2015/16.

But if the game against FC Lusitans is anything to go by it could prove the perfect breeding ground for West Ham's latest crop of brilliant youngsters coming through the Academy with no fewer than seven of them on display in the match. The club's conveyor belt of talent seemed to have ground to a halt in recent years but this could be the ideal platform for those players to gain vital competitive first team experience.

2) West Ham will have no trouble filling the Olympic Stadium

When the Hammers move down the road to Stratford next year they will have an extra 18,000 seats to fill.

Critics say they won't. But those critics don't know much about West Ham fans, who demonstrated just how big the club is by selling out this first qualifying round match against Andorran minnows who all have day jobs.

The Boleyn Ground will be sorely missed but with another 35,000 logging on to the club's official website to watch a live stream from the game and season tickets at the Olympic Stadium already hitting record numbers, those naysayers look set to end up with egg on their faces.

3) Reece Oxford looks every bit the new Rio Ferdinand

The club's youngest ever player in their 120-year history at just 16, Reece Oxford made his debut against Lusitans and it is easy to see why he had some of the top clubs in Europe chasing him before signing a long term deal with the Hammers.

Anyone that saw Ferdinand make his West Ham debut could not help but draw comparisons to Oxford.

Not only the size and athleticism but the confidence and ability on the ball are eerily similar. Like Rio before him Oxford started out in central midfield in his first game before moving back to his natural position at centre half.

He was unlucky not to mark his debut with a goal and was even barking out orders to his teammates. Remember the name because the Hammers have a real future England star on their hands here.

4) There could be life in £10 million flop Matt Jarvis yet

When Matt Jarvis was signed for £10 million from Wolverhapton Wanderers in 2012 to provide the ammunition for fellow new signing Andy Carroll, many saw it as a match made in heaven.

But so far the ex-Gillingham man has been a major disappointment at Upton Park scoring just four times in 75 appearances over three years and rarely setting up Carroll or his fellow strikers for goals.

He was marginalised to a bit-part role last season when he made just 11 appearances for the east Londoners, mostly as a sub.

But if his performance - albeit against very limited opposition - and workrate in the win over Lusitans are anything to go by he is determined to show new manager Slaven Bilic he has a part to play in the club's new era. He was probably West Ham's best player on the night.

5) It can only get tougher from here for Bilic

A win is a win, you can only beat what's in front of you and other often used cliches all apply to West Ham's win over Lusitans. But what we really learned is that Adnorran football isn't up to much.

Bilic could not have wished for an easier first couple of games with the away leg to come next week. But one thing is for sure, it can only get tougher from here on in.

The Hammers must negotiate another two, two-legged qualifiers after this to make it into the competition proper before the big Premier League kick off away to last season's runners-up Arsenal on August 8th.

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