Nothing wrong with West Brom being top, says Bilic
SLAVEN BILIC says he has no problem with his players looking at the league table – with the head coach instead wanting his squad to embrace the challenge that comes with being top of the division.
The Baggies, who face Middlesbrough today, sit top of the Championship after 11 games. But while most managers claim they don’t look at the table, Bilic believes it should give his players confidence.
“I don’t look at the table that much but I’m not afraid to say that we are top of the table,” he said.
“I read, and I respect, managers who forbid the word promotion or champions because they think it affects in a negative way or adds more pressure.
“But you can’t forbid it, the players know their position in the table. They know if they are in first place or 17th. You can’t close their mobile phones.
“But the main thing, I try to say it all the time, is there is nothing wrong with being confident, and if you are top of the table that makes you very, very confident.
“There is nothing wrong with it if you know how much work you had to put in to be top of the table.
“Why are you top of the table? You’re not top of the table because you have a green card.
“You are top of the table because you train well and are living for it. If you are sacrificing and humble and you are a team, then there is nothing wrong with having a look at the table.
“But you have to know that next week you’re only going to be top of the table if you do everything and more than last week, that’s it.
“After 11 games we have done well. So let’s continue to do this and work even harder.”
While Bilic doesn’t mind his players or staff looking at the table, he doesn’t think you can read too much into it after 11 games.
“To talk seriously about the table now means a bit but it doesn’t mean a lot,” he added.
“Three points is the only difference between first and ninth. But it is the same in all the leagues, in Spain, Italy and Germany, you have two points separating eight or nine clubs because unfortunately, it is not the end of the season. I would love it to be but it’s not.
“It’s only 11 games and it’s only Liverpool, in the Premier League, where the gap between first and second is eight points.
“Why? Because Liverpool won all the games. If Liverpool had drawn a couple of games Crystal Palace would be three points from top spot.
“So it’s very early to think ‘oh yes, we are top of the table’ but very nice and significant enough after 11 games to think we’re doing good.”