Break gives Bilic the chance to take stock at West Brom
Slaven Bilic sees the international break as a ‘luxury’ – with Albion’s head coach believing it gives him time to reflect and plan for the rest of the season.
The Baggies currently sit top of the Championship having lost just one of their first 11 league games.
And with his team playing some breathtaking football, you’d forgive Bilic for wanting the action to continue this weekend.
But the 51-year-old views international breaks as the ideal time to take stock, whilst also planning for the games ahead.
“I like it – it’s a good time, a good period,” Bilic said.
“It’s nice to have that kind of a luxury to be honest, but it’s for everybody – it’s not for the chosen ones!
“It’s good to recharge the batteries.
“This is a tough job for the players, the manager, for everybody.
“Now you have time, not only to re-charge by doing nothing - no, no, no – you can do a recap of what you’ve done in the last four or five games.
“We watched those games after they happened.
“But now we can put them all together and find the similarities in them – in a good and in a not so good way.
“Then you can prepare for the next month.”
Bilic is pleased there is another international break next month.
But he says it will be harder for all teams to do their preparation when that break is complete – with national sides then not in action again until the end of March. “It’s easier to prepare for the next five weeks than, say, the next 14 weeks,” Bilic continued.
“This international break helps you because you know that in four or five weeks there’ll be another one – you’re not basically preparing for a long, long period.
“It’s good. I like it. I think everybody does. Sometimes you want another game if your team is on a good run, but generally, it’s a good thing.”
Meanwhile, Bilic says he is frustrated for Matt Phillips that the winger has not been able to join up with the Scotland squad for their matches against Russia and San Marino.
The 28-year-old has suffered a slight recurrence of an ankle problem he first picked up towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
And in a bid to fix the issue, Phillips will have an injection this week.
“He has the old injury, he needs an injection,” Bilic added.
“It’s his ankle. It’s got a little bit worse, that’s why we took him off in the last three games, Cardiff, Leeds and QPR.
“We have to manage him.
“Unfortunately, he’s got that so he can’t go away with Scotland.
“I was national team manager for six years with Croatia and I want my players to play international football – there’s nothing bigger than that.
“But if there’s no chance, there’s no chance.
“That’s the situation with Matt.”