West Ham endured a disappointing and painful night at the London Stadium as they crashed out of the Europa League .
The game in Stratford saw The Hammers edged out 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate against Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu.
Felipe Teixeira’s counter-attack goal before half-time was the only difference between the two sides in an uninspiring contest.
The Irons improved in the second half after throwing on strikers Enner Valencia and Ashley Fletcher, but the east London side were left frustrated by a succession of saves from Astra goalkeeper Silviu Lung.
It’s the second year in a row that the Romanian side have knocked West Ham out in the qualifying stage and manager Slaven Bilic made no excuses for the early exit.
He said to the West Ham club website : “I would like to congratulate Astra as they deserved it. It is a huge frustration because I said before the game that this was one of the most important games of the year for us.
“I said after the Bournemouth game that in the Premier League you can make it up, but this was like a final because you need to win to go through, therefore the disappointment is massive.
“OK, we can always find excuses like missing players and that we should have scored the chances we created and all that, but we didn’t play good. In the first half, we didn’t play with desire as a team, it was all individuals and we were second best.
“I said before the game in Romania that if you give their players the time to turn and play, they can pass the ball, of course, and we were doing plenty of that. There was not enough movement, we played very slowly and we didn’t take the few chances we should have taken.
“They took their chance with a goal on the counter-attack. From our point of view, we lost the ball in a very strange way and they took advantage of the situation.”
The players will now be looking to put the disappointment behind them and regroup for their tough Premier League encounter at Man City on Sunday, 28 August.
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