Thursday 19 April 2018

Bilic backs West Ham's newcomers

Slaven Bilic:
Slaven Bilic: "They have made a really good impression and some of them will start, definitely". Photo: Reuters

Jamie Holland

West Ham head into Europe tonight minus some big names but armed with new signings and manager Slaven Bilic full of confidence.

Dimitri Payet, one of the stars of Euro 2016, is still missing along with James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna following their exertions in France, while Aaron Cresswell and Manuel Lanzini are both sidelined by knee injuries.

On the plus side, Bilic could field his three summer signings - midfielder Havard Nordtveit and exciting wingers Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore - when the Hammers meet NK Domzale of Slovenia in the Europa League third qualifying round.

"They have made a really good impression and some of them will start, definitely," said Bilic.

"If you are talking about Feghouli, if you are talking about Nordtveit, they started when we started because they didn't have international football this summer. They are quality players.

"Of course they are going to get better and better, but already it is obvious that they are going to improve our squad and make a huge impact on the quality of our game - as well as Tore, who came a little bit after but is also ready and fit. We didn't buy just for the sake of buying. We wanted to buy quality players and I'm sure that we've got."

Bilic's optimism has been tempered by this week's news that Cresswell has been ruled out for up to four months, while Lanzini had been scheduled to play for Argentina at the Olympics.

"It's a big blow for us, of course," Bilic added. "But hopefully they are going to be back soon."

Young defender Reece Oxford has also linked up with the squad after helping England to the semi-finals of UEFA U-19 Championship.

Domzale v West Ham United, Live, BT Sport 2, 7.45

Irish Independent

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