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Bilic wary of pitfalls of extended Europa run

Slaven Bilic knows from experience that a lengthy Europa League campaign can have an adverse effect on domestic league form.

The new West Ham boss will lead his side into a second round qualifying tie with Maltese minnows Birkirkara tonight - as every other Premier League side eases their way back into their pre-season preparations. Having already seen off FC Lusitans of Andorra, the Hammers' season is well under way and Bilic - who took Besiktas into the last 16 of the tournament last year - knows the extra games can eventually take their toll.

"The Europa League, if we qualify of course, it's good for the club," he said at his first press conference since replacing Sam Allardyce.

"It is good for the spectators and individually the players. But it takes from you too. Last year I was at Besiktas and the Europa League cost us because it was something like playing 20 games Saturday, Thursday. At the beginning it's great for you if you're winning."