Express & Star

Slaven Bilic: New signings weren't ready but they could play in Carabao Cup rematch with Millwall

Slaven Bilic defended his decision to leave out all four deadline day signings on Saturday, saying it was too early to throw them in.

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Slaven Bilic. (AMA)

But the Baggies boss is contemplating giving some of them their first taste of football in Tuesday's rematch with Millwall in the Carabao Cup.

Albion drew 1-1 in Bilic's first home game of the season, but there was no sign of Charlie Austin, Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana or Chris Willock – four attackers all signed on deadline day.

The Baggies lacked cutting edge up front and eventually paid for it after dominating possession, conceding an equaliser 15 minutes from time.

When Bilic was asked if he should have had some of the new boys in his squad, he said: "No, not at all, no. They’re not ready. They did the medical on Thursday night, so they trained Friday.

“It wouldn’t be a serious approach to the game [to play them]. Even if we’d have lost the game to Forest, we wouldn’t do it.

“It’s too early. It’s not the World Cup, we don’t have four games. Apart from Grady, none of them played. They were waiting for transfers.

“Only Grady was coming on for West Ham, 20 minutes, half an hour, whatever.

"I’d love them to be involved on Tuesday, although that’s also a serious game and we’re going to have a very serious approach to that competition.

“We’re going to have some changes, right, but it was impossible on Saturday. There was no reason for that.”

Despite dropping two points, the home fans have taken to Bilic, and he was pleased with the atmosphere inside The Hawthorns.

But after coming up against a stubborn Millwall side, he admitted the Championship was tougher than he thought.

“It’s like I said: it’s one of the reasons I came here," added Bilic. "That’s why I’m sad we didn’t win the game because the atmosphere, the weather, the occasion, was the kind of football where we dominated the game.

“I liked it. I didn’t want the game to finish! Not because of the result, but because I enjoyed it.

"This league, though, is even more difficult than I expected. It is a difficult league.”