By Amir Mir

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has insisted his team are prepared for their up and coming Europa League third-round qualifier, after being knocked out at this stage last season.

The Londoners begin their qualifying campaign on Thursday when they take on Slovenian side NK Domzale, as they begin their competitive season two weeks prior to the start of the Premier League.

Bilic is satisfied with their preparation as he looks to find balance in his attacking team ahead of the crucial fixture.

“We are happy with our preparations,” Bilic told the official Hammers website. “We have done everything that we wanted to do, but still we have to make a balance in our preparations to compromise some things because the competitive games don’t start on 15 August, they start on Thursday.

“It’s not ideal but I’m really pleased with the way we’ve trained. We are still expecting a few players to come back, those who have been playing in the European Championships. If we continue to work hard like this, with dedication and humility, we can expect good things.”

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For the second year in a row, the Hammers will aim to qualify for the Europa League, after being knocked out during the qualifiers last season in Bilic’s first few months in charge.

The Premier League side go to Slovenia having beaten German side Karlsruher 3-0 on Saturday. New summer signings Sofiane Feghouli and Ashley Fletcher were on target, alongside England international Andy Carroll.

Bilic enjoyed a successful first campaign in England when he guided the east London club to a top seven finish, with an impressive return of 65 goals.

West Ham begin their Premier League season away at London rivals Chelsea on 15 August.

In other West Ham team news, this highly-rated youngster spells out how he intends to cement a first-team place.