Slaven Bilic: Maybe Matheus Pereira's red was a blessing for West Brom
Albion head coach Slaven Bilic believes Matheus Pereira’s red card against Stoke may actually have been a blessing in disguise.
The Baggies boss was left incensed when the FA slapped Pereira with a retrospective three-game ban for an alleged elbow on Joe Allen last month.
It meant the Brazilian missed league games against Luton and Cardiff and the FA Cup tie at West Ham.
But since returning to the side, Pereira has been in sensational form and has helped inspire Albion to wins at Millwall and Reading.
Bilic revealed, following the red card, his talisman was encouraged to rest and take a week off.
And the head coach believes Pereira is now benefitting from that break.
“Of course we weren’t happy when they (the FA) banned him for three games,” Bilic said.
“But then I said, well maybe there’s something good in it, because in his career he’s never played so many games – one after another – like this. This is his first season like that.
“Maybe it was good, and we told him to go one week somewhere. We told him ‘don’t go wild’, he’s a professional guy, but don’t go wild and go somewhere to rest. Rest mentally more than physically, but also physically.
“He went and of course he feels like he’s benefitting from that. We should thank the FA!”
Another player who has impressed in recent weeks is Jake Livermore, who has put in some outstanding performances in central midfield.
When asked about his skipper, Bilic admitted he is delighted with 30-year-old. But he also moved to remind everyone Albion have not achieved anything yet, despite their lofty position at the top of the Championship table. “He’s been brilliant for us, he’s been brilliant for me and for the whole team and the staff,” Bilic added.
“He is the captain of the team, he’s here, he’s there, he’s the most important one,”
“He’s a proper captain, but he must continue now like this and also put a bit more on the pedal.
“But I don’t like to praise this one and this one, like it’s the end of the season. We still have games to go, it’s no time for plaudits.
“It’s time to be confident, yes, but it’s not time to rest and say ‘yeah we are great’.
“Unfortunately it’s not the last day of the season.”
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