Matt Phillips: West Brom have right character to bounce back against Aston Villa
Matt Phillips is confident Albion can bounce back from Monday’s ‘kick in the teeth’ with victory over Villa this Friday.
The Baggies dropped two points at the start of the week after being sucker-punched late on by a Brentford equaliser.
Darren Moore’s men had dominated the game for large periods and finally broke through 13 minutes from time through a Harvey Barnes strike into the top corner.
Phillips, who once again impressed in a central midfield three, clipped the bar himself at the end of a one-sided first half.
The 27-year-old admitted it was a frustrating finish, but believes the Baggies have the character to return to winning ways in Friday’s big derby.
“In the first half we created plenty of chances and we were playing well,” said Phillips. “It was a bit of a kick in the teeth that we only take a point from the game but it’s another point towards our final target.
“The most disappointing thing is that we had so many chances.
“There were enough chances to win the game but this is a difficult league.
“It’s pleasing that we’re creating the chances and the lads are big enough characters to move on and look to Friday.
"On another day we come away with plenty of goals. We have another game on Friday night so we’ll take the point and move on.”
With such a quick turnaround, the squad’s thoughts have immediately turned to the derby with Dean Smith’s men at The Hawthorns on Friday.
“Disappointing result in the end,” tweeted Barnes. “Thought we deserved a lot more out of the game! Time to prepare for the big one Friday.”
It is Albion’s first meeting with Villa for almost three years, and one dripping with sub-plot.
Smith was interviewed for the vacant Albion job earlier this year after Alan Pardew was sacked and went head-to-head with Moore for the role before owner Guochuan Lai chose the caretaker boss who nearly steered the club to a miraculous escape from relegation.
Smith’s assistant Richard O’Kelly was born in West Bromwich and spent seven years at Albion as a youth team coach, and his goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler left the Baggies for Villa just last month.
Moore also has history with Villa. Raised in Handsworth, he used to watch games at both Villa Park and The Hawthorns growing up.
He idolised Villa centre-back Paul McGrath and his brother David was an apprentice at the claret and blue club.
Albion midfielder Gareth Barry spent 12 years at Villa, and made more than 400 appearances for them.