Slaven Bilic: West Brom 'magnificent' in victory
Slaven Bilic hailed his players as magnificent after Albion put in an outstanding performance to sweep aside an in-form Derby.
The Rams headed to The Hawthorns having been the Championship’s form side ever since Wayne Rooney left D.C. United to join them in January.
Yet they were outclassed by the Baggies who were defensively outstanding and prevented Phillip Cocu’s side from having a single shot on target.
But while Bilic’s side were tight at the back, they were just as impressive going forward with goals from Grady Diangana and Dara O'Shea ensuring they returned to the top of the Championship.
“I can’t feel any better,” Bilic said after watching his team’s display.
“Of course it is all about the points at this stage of the season.
“But there is a way to get the points and we were magnificent to be fair.
“We were fantastic in every aspect of the game.
“We played against a very offensive team. But to defend as we did, against a good team and against a team that is in form, to defend like that, to be organised like that. Magnificent.
“To basically give them nothing, but at the same time to keep the ball well, to create so many chances.
“The only thing that was missing was an earlier second goal.
“Everything else, from every player was there.”
Albion had played their best football since lockdown in a 4-3-3 formation.
But Bilic opted for a 4-2-3-1 system for the visit of Cocu’s side.
“You can talk about a game plan - but you always have a game plan,” the boss continued.
“They way they executed it, I would call it fantastic to be fair.
“I am so proud of them. That was us in the best possible way.
“We played a very offensive formation with very offensive players.
“But the way they defended was great. Everybody did their job, more than their job.
“To restrict Derby to basically nothing requires not only passion, not only quality, not only determination, everything was there. Everything was there without the ball.
“I can’t be more proud of the boys. I can’t be more pleased.
“It is not only three points, the performance gives you belief, confidence for the remainder of the season.”
The only downside for Albion was that goalscorer Diangana had to come off early in the second half with what looked to be a hamstring problem.
But Bilic doesn’t believe the injury is overly serious.
“It was only tight,” the boss added.
“Hopefully, and I think so, it’s not an injury, just a precaution.
“He will be assessed, it looks okay but it would be instrumental to keep him.
“He is one of the reasons why we played so well, not only offensively, but defensively he was unbelievable.
“He was focused. He won a lot of balls from them high up the pitch.
“He scored a goal and every time he got on the ball he had short runs or long runs - he was Grady at his best.”