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West Ham star absent for crucial clash - Bilic

By Alex Taylor

Dimitri Payet was ruled out of West Ham’s Europa League qualifier against Domzale on Thursday night as he is yet to rejoin the squad following Euro 2016.

The free-kick maestro was absent alongside fellow first-team stars James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna as they look to get back fit in time for the new Premier League season in just over a week’s time.

The Hammers lost the first leg of the tie 2-1 away from home but scored a crucial away goal. The fixture will be their first game in the Olympic Stadium having left Upton Park at the end of last season.

“Dimitri is joining us later in the week and we will not have have James Collins or Angelo Ogbonna available for the game,” Bilic told the club’s official website. “It is too early for them and they have not had the right amount of training.

“We have a job to do against a team who know how to play good football. Me and my staff knew that before the first game but I am confident we are going to play better than what we did in Slovenia and that we will beat them with the result that will see us qualify for the play-off stages.”

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The attacking midfielder has come under fire himself from fans across the globe this summer for prematurely ending Ronaldo’s Euro 2016 final midway through the first half with a forceful challenge.

But Payet was a key figure for West Ham last season and was a nominee for the PFA Player of the Year.

He joined the east London outfit from Marseille last summer for around £12.5 million and was integral to the Hammers sensational season, scoring 12 goals and providing 14 assists in all competitions.

The 29-year-old starred for France at Euro 2016 with brilliant late goals in both of his national side’s opening victories and finished as a runner up in the tournament, after an extra-time 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the final.

There had been speculation that Payet could be leaving the club after his impressive form, bbut he told The Sun that he will 100% being staying at West Ham for the new season.

In other West Ham team news, they have suffered an injury blow as their star player has returned from international duty.