West Ham chief Slaven Bilic lamented a series of incidents which culminated in the Hammers downfall against FC Astra Giurgiu at the Boleyn Ground on Thursday night.
After Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate put the hosts 2-0 up after 50 minutes, the East Londoners let that precious two goal advantage slip through their fingers and now face a daunting task going into the Europa League third qualifying round second leg in Romania next Thursday.
• Also online: Match report, West Ham 2, FC Astra 2
Bilic said: “We totally dominated the majority of the match and at some point of the game we were close to scoring a third goal. When they scored for 2-1 then they took control – we still had a few chances – but the own goal lifted Astra even more. Even if were not totally fit we should’ve still seen out the match.”
Furthermore, James Collins two bookable offences resulted for the 2012 Championship play off winners saw them play the majority of the second half with a man light, their third dismissal in three Europa League rounds.
Former Croatia national team boss Bilic was angered by Swiss referee Adrien Jaccottet’s decision to send off Collins.
Bilic explained: “We’ve had three red cards in three games in the Europa League. It’s simply too much. The sending off was too harsh and I blame the referee for the decision. I can’t blame James Collins for that because it was a professional foul and he was in a dangerous situation with him being one on one and close to the box.”
Also, Valencia and O’Brien failed to finish the first half and came off through injury, with the Ecuadorian’s injury looking far more serious after leaving the field on a stretcher.
“With Joey O’Brien it doesn’t look that bad.” said Bilic. “He felt his hamstring and it should be fine but we’ll take no risks and wait till tomorrow for the prognosis. Enner twisted his knee and we’ll wait til tomorrow morning when he has a scan and we can only hope that it’s not very bad. Until he has the scan then it’s all speculation.”
“I am worried about the scan Enner Valencia will have tomorrow. It’s the biggest reason why I am not happy tonight. I am not happy with the result – of course – but that is the main thing.”