West Ham boss Slaven Bilic laments conceding 'cheap' equaliser in Romania
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic was satisfied with a 1-1 draw away at Astra Giurgiu in the first leg of their Europa League play-off despite seeing his side concede another late goal.
Mark Noble fired the Hammers ahead from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time following a handball but, shortly after Michail Antonio missed an opportunity to make it 2-0, Denis Alibec made them pay seven minutes from time.
West Ham also conceded late on in their opening Premier League match on Monday night, when Diego Costa netted a minute from time to secure a 2-1 win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
But despite not winning the game in Romania, Bilic was content with a draw heading into next week's second leg at the London Stadium.
"To be fair, they put us under pressure and had chances,'' the Croatian told BT Sport. "We had some bad clearances, not clean enough. Then they scored a good goal. It is a cheap one from our side.
"We were during the game good at set pieces, especially in the first half from defensive ones. It is a shame, but still it is a good result.
"1-1, are we happy? Not totally. Is it a good result for us? We hoped that we were going to win but this kind of team mixed with some youngsters was a good experience. It is a good result for us.''
Bilic was disappointed with his side's defending from the corner that brought the hosts' equaliser, just after Antonio failed to put the game to bed.
"It is a shame because a couple of minutes before the goal when we had a clear-cut counter-attack,'' Bilic added. "But unfortunately we missed the target.
"And instead of 2-0 and killing the game off or putting it to bed, they get a corner a minute later and score from it.''
However Bilic, without Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini and club record signing Andre Ayew -- who this week was ruled out for four months through injury -- remains confident his side will not suffer a repeat of last year's embarrassing exit.
"Under the circumstances, with the pitch and the team we had out there, it's a good result," Bilic said. "We should create more on a better pitch, which ours will be. It would have been ideal to win here 5-0 and rest Thursday.
"But it's OK. And the score is very simple -- if we can't beat them at home then we shouldn't be in the Europa League!"
Astra boss Marius Sumudica had made a surprise appearance on the bench after having been serving a lengthy ban for betting on matches.
He must have had some choice words for his side at the break because they looked far better in the second half and deserved their draw.
"It's was a weird feeling to be back but I helped my team from that point of view," Sumudica said.
"I gave them my desire to win and to be fighters. I knew we were facing a very strong team who have one player who cost as much as our squad, but in the second half we were at the same level."