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Published: 15:08 | 23/5/16

Gold relishing Europa League challenge

West Ham will take heart from Liverpool's run in the Europa League and will take the competition seriously, joint-chairman David Gold has said.

The Hammers finished seventh in the Premier League table but they can start preparing for a second consecutive season in the Europa League courtesy of Manchester United's FA Cup win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

As the team prepare to move to the Olympic Stadium, Slaven Bilic will be given money to spend on players and Gold believes they can do well in the Europa League.

"It was an exciting and thrilling end to the Final and what a goal from (Jesse) Lingard to win the game," Gold told the club's website.

"There was so much hanging on it for West Ham fans and we were all left celebrating as we are back in Europe for the second consecutive year.

"As we prepare for the big move into the new Stadium this is another exciting challenge for the football Club.

"Liverpool showed it is possible to go all the way and they were very unlucky to lose in the Final. They could have been in the Champions League next season.

"We should take this competition seriously and we are good enough to win it."

The Hammers reached the third qualifying round of the Europa League last year but Gold feels the players will cope better with the demands of playing European football.

"It will also be another great opportunity for our young players to get European experience and a number of them showed their quality when we played in the early rounds last summer," Gold added.

"They are now a year older and have more experience under their belt so will be better equipped to deal with the pressures of playing in such a big competition.

"We will also have new signings coming into the squad who will also make the squad stronger and it will be another great opportunity for us to challenge for major silverware and a Champions League position."

West Ham were due to host Juventus in their first game at the Olympic Stadium on August 7, but a Europa league play-off is likely to be the opening fixture at the venue.

However, they may be forced to borrow a ground to host the tie. The home and away legs are due to be held on July 28 and August 4 but with UK Athletics holding an event from July 22-24 and the stadium needing seven days to be transformed from athletics to football use, that would not leave enough time to prepare the ground if West Ham are drawn to play the first leg at home.

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