Arsenal captured their second straight Community Shield with a 1-0 win over champions Chelsea, while West Ham has had its hands full with the Europa League.
Despite the Hammers letting a two-goal lead slip in the first leg to draw the game at Upton Park last Thursday 2-2, Bilic believes his team of youngsters can triumph against Astra to seal Europa League football for the club’s final campaign at the Boleyn Ground.
“We have come here with a good team that I have a strong belief in”.
Parlour feels it’s a big season for the Hammers because of where they are heading after this season, which makes it important for Bilic to get his message across to the players as quickly as possible.
Getting knocked out of the competition at this stage, though, might have become part of the plan with speculation mounting the Croatian boss is planning to put out a second-string side on Thursday to protect his squad ahead of the new Premier League season.
“We would love to go through and that is the aim for everyone”.
“We all want to be in Europe and we are going to work hard to do that”.
Bilic says the selection of his team is more to do with balancing the two games, rather than taking the league more seriously. “We started pre-season very early”.
Bilic has selected just a handful of first team regulars for the trip to Romania, including Kevin Nolan and Carl Jenkinson, who can’t play against his parent club at the weekend.
One player definitely back in London is club-record signing Andy Carroll but, with fellow forward Enner Valencia sidelined for up to three months, the England global is making positive steps towards his own recovery from his own knee issue. To continue the positive theme, we have welcomed five players back to first-team training this week following minor injuries.