Slaven Bilic says West Ham must adjust to Europa League

West Ham Upton Park

The Hammers have seen two red cards in the competition so far, and the boss is keen to avoid another.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has told the club’s official website that his side must learn to adjust to teams in the Europa League.

The Croatian boss was speaking after his side narrowly qualified for the third round qualifying stage after relying on a penalty to shootout to see off Maltese minnows Birkirkara FC.

The game may have been easier had they not had James Tomkins sent off after 15 minutes, their second red card in two away European ties this summer after Diafra Sakho suffered a similar fate in the first round.

And Bilic says his side must adjust if they are to avoid a repeat in the future, although he thinks his team will continue to be antagonised.

“That’s two rounds, two stupid red cards, first in Andorra and now here,” he told whufc.com.

“We didn’t get used to playing in Europe in this kind of atmosphere. We have to adjust, because we cannot react like that to provocation. It will happen again, 100 per cent. Both of them were a little bit hard for me but we gave them a chance to give us to give a red card.”

Bilic experience in Europa League to be key

With this being the first taste of European football for many in Bilic’s side, it is not hard to see why the so-called dirty tricks have worked against them.

Indeed, it is an aspect of the game which has often caught English teams out in Europe, with Premier League teams not accustomed to the more stringent refereeing and tricks of their opponents.

The Croatian boss should be acclimatised to it, though, with him having worked in the competition with Besiktas in the past. Perhaps, then, he should work to train his players to cope with the scenarios they have encountered, especially with him predicting it will happen again in future.

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