Slaven Bilic: West Brom will only get stronger
Head coach Slaven Bilic believes Albion will grow stronger throughout the Championship run-in.
Following a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Baggies resumed their push for the Premier League when they hosted Birmingham last weekend.
Despite dominating the game, Albion were made to settle for a point after a dogged Blues outfit dug in to keep a clean sheet.
Speaking after the match, Bilic said it was a lack of match sharpness that prevented his team from winning the game.
And after watching some other matches, he feels that was a common theme for many Championship sides last weekend.
“I was very pleased with how we played against Birmingham,” he said.
“And after I watched some other Championship games I was even more pleased.
“The big question marks about playing behind closed doors were: ‘Are the players going to treat it like a serious game, or are they going to do things like they do in training? Are they going to stretch? Is the transition going to be good enough? Are we going to control the game? Are we going to lose our shape?’ In all those aspects we were very, very good.
“The only thing I wasn’t happy with, and I’m still not happy with, is the reaction and the quality in the box.
“But then I watch other games. The Fulham Brentford game. The Leeds Cardiff game.
“I watched some European games.
“You are talking about top teams who were attacking and wanted to win. They attacked in numbers and with bodies.
“But when it comes to being skilful, you depend on match sharpness, that reaction in the box. Bang, bang. We were missing that. Everything was blocked.
“But then I watch other games and it was very similar. Block, block, block.
“It is much easier for a defender to block a shot than for a striker to have that quick, sharp reaction.”
Bilic confirmed all his players came through the Blues game with a clean bill of health.
And ahead of Friday’s trip to Brentford. he says his side will get sharper with each passing game.
“We should be better than the last game but it (sharpness) is going to be gradual,” the head coach continued. “That’s why when you listen to the strikers – Harry Kane for example after his long injury.
“He talks about needing a few games to get match sharpness. He trains. But you need that.
“That should improve with one game.
“But what you need in and around the box – it’s going to improve game by game. We can’t wait long, though, because it’s not the beginning of the season.
“It’s the beginning of the World Cup.”
Bilic believes his players will be more settled now the first game of their remaining nine games is out the way.
“It was like the first game of the season but in weird circumstances,” the Croatian added.
“But that should help the players psychologically, that the first game is now out of the way.
“You have that with every first game of the season but especially now considering the new conditions the games are played in. That will help.”
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