The Hammers blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Romanian side FC Astra in the first leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier at Upton Park on Thursday night.
Goals from Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate had put the home side firmly in control of the tie, but the second-half dismissal of defender James Collins proved costly as Astra made their numerical advantage count to earn a draw.
The dismissal of Collins – sent off for two bookable offences – was West Ham’s third red card in five Europa League matches following on from those given to Diafra Sakho and James Tomkins in the earlier rounds.
Bilic, who was later sent to stands after remonstrating with the referee, is more than aware his side cannot afford further shows of ill-discipline with the second leg in Romania next Thursday.
“We gave three red cards in three rounds – it is too much,” said Bilic.
“This one was totally different than the one in Andorra with (Diafra) Sakho or (James) Tomkins in Malta. This was professional and it was too harsh to be fair but I can’t blame the referee for the decision and I can’t blame James Collins for that, the situation was very dangerous.”
Talking about his own dismissal, Bilic added: “I just said to referee that I wasn’t very happy with the situation.
“If that (the second Collins booking) was a yellow card then a foul on Dimitri Payet was also a yellow and would have been that player’s second yellow.
“I wasn’t happy with that and I reacted with him (the referee). I didn’t swear. He just said I couldn’t shout.
“They (Astra) have a good result. If we play like we did in the first 60 minutes next week we definitely have a chance to go through, but if we are going to get another red card it is better we stay here.”