West Ham 2-2 Athletic Bilbao: Irons fight back to draw in final pre-season test

Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere on target as West Ham gear up for Premier League opener

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Manuel Lanzini of West Ham in action during the Pre-Season Friendly match between West Ham United and Athletic Bilbao at the Olympic Stadium on August 03, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

West Ham battled back from two goals down to draw their final pre-season friendly with Athletic Bilbao 2-2 at London Stadium.

First-half goals from Manuel Lanzini and Jack Wilshere secured the draw after the visitors had raced into an early 2-0 lead.

The Irons lost the token penalty shootout, but it was a welcome 90 minutes for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, who will know they need to start faster and defend better when the Premier League champions roll into town next Saturday.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini said he was pleased with how pre-season had gone and promised the team would be ready for the start of the new campaign.

“We improved a lot last season, we took a big step,” he said.  “For different reasons, the relations were not good between the fans and the team, the fans were not happy in this stadium, now we are happy.

“I expect this season we will grow more and one way to do that is to be able to demonstrate that we are able to have a big team mentality.

“The start that we have against Man City does not mean we will definitely lose that game or not play as a big team, it is important to be optimistic but that optimism must have a base.

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“In work, in concentration in pace during the game, we have good players. Now we need to be a complete team.”

All the goals in the Bilbao game came within the opening 23 minutes. The Spaniards were ahead with just two minutes on the clock as Sebastien Haller deflected Unai Lopez’s cross into the wrong net.

The lead was doubled on 15 minutes as Inaki Williams smartly finished a sweeping move past Roberto from close range.

It looked as though it might be a long afternoon for the Hammers but West Ham rallied and were soon level with two goals of their own inside 85 seconds.

First Pablo Fornals found Lanzini free in the box to poke home from close range before Haller picked out Wilshere who found the bottom corner with a smart finish.

That marked the end of the goalscoring and, after Javier Hernandez and Grady Diangana missed from the spot, Yuri Berchiche’s found the next to secure a 4-2 shootout success for the away team.

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