West Ham co-owner David Gold lauds Slaven Bilic for 'sensible' approach to chaotic pre-season

Upton Park

West Ham United co-owner David Gold has been singing the praises of new boss Slaven Bilic for the way he has been handling the club's hectic schedule.

West Ham were the first Premier League side to be back in competitive action this season way back on July 2nd after making it into the qualifying stages for the Europa League through the FIFA Fair Play rankings.

The early return to action meant the shortest summer break for any Premier League side in history and has made for a somewhat chaotic pre-season schedule with friendlies and competitive European matches coming thick and fast.

The early qualifying rounds of the competition were always going to throw up some unknown opponents and interesting trips across the continent which have added to the exertions.

Strain starting to show?

It looked like the strain was beginning to show as Bilic's side toiled in the heat against Maltese minnows Birkirkara in the last round.

They lost the second leg match 1-0 to draw 1-1 on aggregate and after the added burden of 30 minutes extra time had to hold their nerve in a penalty shootout to progress.

But Hammers co-owner Gold has told the club's official website that Bilic has taken it all in his stride and has hailed his 'sensible' approach to the club's predicament.

"The games are certainly coming thick and fast for the  lub and I have never experienced such congestion when it comes to pre-season action," Gold told whufc.com.

"But I have to say that Slaven Bilic is dealing with the amount of games in a very sensible manner and is providing the right balance when it comes to playing the senior and young players."

Will fitness levels help shoot down Gunners?

Gold said he had been particularly impressed with the way Bilic was mixing and matching his squad for each game and making sure players are getting the right amount of game time under their belts before the Premier League season gets under way in just over a week.

They don't come much harder either.

The Hammers will travel to London rivals and last season's Premier League runners-up Arsenal on August 9th, just three days after a long trip to Romania for the second leg of their third qualifying round match against FC Astra.

But one consolation for Bilic is that his players will be sharp and fit with six competitive games already under their belt so may have a slight edge on Arsene Wenger's side in that respect.

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