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West Ham manager Slaven Bilic: Hectic start to season 'very tough'

Published 19/08/2016

Slaven Bilic's West Ham are in the middle of a busy run of fixtures
Slaven Bilic's West Ham are in the middle of a busy run of fixtures

Slaven Bilic will be asking for a big effort from his West Ham players when they host Bournemouth on Sunday, having said his squad have had "no hours off" due to a busy start to the season.

The Hammers are in the midst of a hectic run of five games within the opening fortnight of the new campaign as they look to secure Europa League qualification and start the new Premier League term strongly.

They lost to a late goal at Chelsea in their league opener on Monday and a much-changed side were then held 1-1 against Astra Giurgiu in Romania on Thursday in the first leg of their European play-off tie.

Having arrived back in the early hours of Friday morning, Bilic must now prepare a squad he admits has a few knocks - not to mention injuries to the likes of club-record signing Andre Ayew and fellow new recruit Sofiane Feghouli - for the visit of the Cherries.

"We knew the situation and we knew that we have five games before the international break and we're not going to do a lot of training, just travelling," he said.

"We started with Chelsea, then we came back from Romania Friday morning at around 3.30am, back home around 5am, back here for training.

"We are all in. Some guys who played have a regeneration session and the guys who didn't play and the guys who stayed here they have a session because the game is in two days.

"There's no days off, no hours off and we have a big game. After Bournemouth we have a second game against Astra and then Man City and then we can have a breather, so it's a very tough situation but we wanted to be in it.

"We wanted to play in Europe, to be in a position to qualify. It's not job done after (Thursday) but we have a good result. We wanted to try it and hopefully we're going to make it."

Bournemouth visit the London Stadium for the first Premier League game to be hosted at West Ham's new home, having won 4-3 in a thrilling encounter at Upton Park almost exactly a year ago.

Bilic knows to expect the unexpected having managed in England for a year, but will be asking for more from his potentially weary troops this time around.

"You can't expect seven goals in any game nowadays, but they happen," he added.

"I expect us to be much more concentrated and much more solid than we were in that game."

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