Slaven Bilic: West Brom have got to be brave
Slaven Bilic has told Albion’s players to be brave and embrace the pressure that comes with being in the race for automatic promotion.
The Baggies saw a five-point gap to third-placed Brentford cut to just three after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Blackburn on Saturday.
It means there is now even more importance on tomorrow’s clash with Fulham – a side who also still have hopes of reaching the Premier League automatically. But while it will be a high stakes and high-pressured clash at The Hawthorns, Bilic has told his players to embrace the occasion and tackle it head on.
“The guys feel pressure but I’ve told the guys – the pressure is normal,” the head coach said. “You are not less worthy because you feel pressure.
“When people talk about pressure today they talk about how you shouldn’t feel pressure.
“Feeling pressure isn’t macho. It’s like a flaw, it’s seen as a negative.
“But the pressure comes with the position. The teams below us have less pressure – not because they are superheroes or because they are made of something better than we are.
“It’s because they are below us. If we swapped positions then they would have more pressure and we would have less. It goes with that.
“It’s in every league, you see it in every sport. So no problem. Do we have pressure? Yes, let’s admit it – we have pressure.
“But then we have to say how are we going to cope with that pressure?
“By sticking together, by being together and helping each other. That is what we are going to do.
“Not to say we don’t feel pressure, no no. We feel pressure, everybody feels pressure but together we can cope with it – especially if we admit it. Yes, we feel it. So what?
“Face it head-on. We are going to be brave and face that pressure.”
Meanwhile former boss Tony Mowbray says he’s got his fingers crossed Albion do go on and win promotion – despite his Rovers side holding the Baggies to a 1-1 draw.
“They are under pressure but you have to trust the quality you’ve got and it’s clear that Slaven does that,” he said. “He’s close to his players from what I can see and I think there’s a respect level there.
“He’s got some very talented players. They have to keep their nerve and keep going.
“My fingers are crossed for them. I like the football club and the supporters.
“It’s a great club and it deserves to be in the Premier League.”