Slaven Bilic: There will be no complacency at West Brom
Slaven Bilic is determined Albion’s poor run of form from December through to February will act as a wake-up call for the rest of the campaign.
The Baggies, who sit top of the Championship, have taken 10 points from a possible 12 in recent weeks after putting in impressive displays against Luton, Millwall, Reading and Nottingham Forest.
Before that, Bilic’s side endured a spell where they went seven league matches without a win.
And the head coach says those results show there can be no room for complacency from now until the end of the campaign.
“We cannot rest and say we are great,” Bilic said. “Unfortunately it’s not the last day of the season.
“We felt it. We felt it very recently. We didn’t do anything deliberately.
“And if you asked me what happened – OK we had some injuries.
“But what happened? Nobody knows really. But it did happen so we have our eyes wide open. “We have to concentrate and be humble. And we also have to be strong.”
As well as enjoying a seven-point gap over third-placed Fulham, Albion enjoy a four-point lead over second-placed Leeds.
But Bilic believes being at the top of the table is harder than being part of the chasing pack.
“It is much easier to be third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh than first or second,” he said.
“If you read about Forest they are dreaming, Brentford are hoping to get into the top two.
“But when you are top two you have to (win promotion). “That is a pressure you have to cope with.“Of course you wouldn’t swap, of course, you wouldn’t. They would swap with us, but it is easier.”
While Bilic’s believes it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why Albion had a dip in form earlier in the campaign – he believes doing the basics better has helped his team get back on track.
“We never lost belief,” the head coach added.
“But those dirty little things, the things that are most important in a game, before we were matching our opponents at them.
“Now we are better than the opponents at them.
“And we are doing that with players who are normally better on the ball than without the ball.
“If you have that, then your quality can make a difference.
“But if you don’t have those things, those little things – closing down the throw-ins, winning second balls, then you don’t have a chance.
“At the moment we have it. And I said to the guys that can go a little but bit up and a little bit down.
“It depends on your form, on the opponent. But it has to continue.”