Midfield star Youssouf Mulumbu today urged Albion to replicate last season’s flying start when they kick-off the new Premier League campaign tomorrow.
Mulumbu wants the Baggies to hit the ground running against Southampton in the top-flight curtain-raiser to spark the same early-season surge that propelled them towards an eighth-place finish last term.
Steve Clarke’s side beat Liverpool 3-0 on the opening day of last season to trigger an impressive run of eight wins in their first 13 games that shot them up to third in the table in November.
And Mulumbu is eyeing a repeat tomorrow to set the tone for another strong outing after warning his team-mates that former glories count for nothing.
“The season sometimes starts really well then afterwards you drop off,” said fans’ favourite Mulumbu.
“We need to start the way we did last year because that will maybe show people the way we are going play this year.
“We need to start in good shape and I’m looking forward to it.
“It is the first game of the season and we need to set the conditions for the season.
“Last season we saw QPR started really badly and maybe that’s why they got relegated. So we need to start sharply. Last year we beat Liverpool and that showed we could do it by beating a great side.
“Our fans were unbelievable last year and deserved the good football we played and the place in the table we had but this year is another team and another league so we want to stay strong.
“If we want to be the best team in the West Midlands we need to show that again so we need to work hard in training and on the pitch. We had a good pre-season, played seven games and won six, so we’re ready.”
Mulumbu is preparing to start his fifth full season at The Hawthorns as a key member of Steve Clarke’s side after initially joining on loan from Paris Saint Germain as a little-known 22-year-old.
The DR Congo international signed a new contract with Albion in the summer and insists he could not now imagine playing anywhere else after being joined in the squad by long-time friend Nicolas Anelka.
“I feel like I’m part of this family,” he said. “When I came here I was a part of PSG but now I feel like a Baggie. Sometimes when the gaffer is making a decision he asks me, Mozza (James Morrison) and Brunty (Chris Brunt).
“When Nicolas came here I welcomed him as a friend and showed him everything around here.
“I am comfortable at West Brom and that’s why I signed a new deal, because I feel part of this experience and I have grown up with this team.”
The much-travelled Anelka looks set to be the star attraction for the Baggies this season after joining on a free transfer from Juventus.
And Mulumbu, who admired the former France striker from the youth team when their paths crossed at PSG, believes the 34-year-old will make light of his advancing years.
“He has scored his goals in pre-season but he has also looked sharp,” said Mulumbu.
“He’s 34 but he never stops and rests and he is a great man with good experience. “When you don’t know him you think he’s going to be big-time but he is a great lad.”
Albion ended last season with a proud record against the Saints after following up a 2-0 home win in November with a 3-0 victory at St Mary’s in April.
But Mulumbu warned: “Yes, they play great football but we won’t be scared of them and yet we won’t underestimate them either.”