Bilic explains what impressed him about his players during Europa League scare

West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic is pleased with specific elements of his players after a nervy game against Birkirkara.

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic told the club’s official website what he enjoyed seeing in his players as they made it through to the next stage of Europa League qualifying.

The Hammers produced a nervy performance against Birkirkara last night, who forced a penalty shoot-out after beating West Ham 1-0 after extra-time.

The East Londoners kept their cool to secure a 5-3 victory on penalties, with Bilic focusing on what he feels was one of the few positives to emerge during the game.

“The guys showed their spirit and commitment and the most important thing is that we got no injuries and we have got through,” he told

“That is good because I have seen the character and confidence in their eyes.”

Learn a lesson and move on

There are two potential reasons for the club’s flat performance in the Europa League game.

Firstly, there could have been a little complacency from the Premier League team because of the quality they have in all areas of their squad.

West Ham would back themselves to make it through most European qualifying games similar to this because of the way they arguably edge the key man-to-man battles.

Secondly, there are likely to have been a few players still catching up in terms of their pre-season fitness.

It’s important that Bilic stresses how close the club were to going out of the competition, which will hopefully put his players right on guard ahead of the next round.

The Europa League is a very important platform for the Hammers as they look to develop and progress over the next 12 months.

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