Slaven Bilic: West Brom deserve a second shot at glory
Head coach Slaven Bilic says Albion deserve their second shot at winning automatic promotion.
The Baggies host QPR tomorrow knowing a victory will see them secure a return to the Premier League. Bilic’s side have been in the Championship’s top two since September.
But a 2-1 loss at Huddersfield on Friday saw them lose the initiative in the race for English football’s top tier.
Instead, it was Brentford in the driving seat but the Bees also struggled to cope with the pressure and fell to a 1-0 loss at Stoke – ending a run that had previously seen them win eight matches on the spin.
That means Albion are now just 90 minutes away from achieving their season’s goal.
And Bilic believes – having been sat in the Championship’s top two for the vast majority of the campaign – his players deserved the reprieve that came with Stoke’s victory.
“We were not given it (a second chance), we deserve it,” the boss said.
“We have been in that position since the beginning of the season.
“Friday night felt terrible, of course, because for the first time it could get out of our hands.
“But they also had a game of football. Stoke away. A difficult game. And Stoke did the job.
“With a bit pressure – they (Brentford) didn’t do it.
“That shows you how hard it is.
“Now we are in a better position than we were in before Huddersfield and even before the Fulham game.
“We are 90 minutes away. It’s going to be a difficult 90 minutes - It’s going to be a nervy game. But We are 90 minutes away from the thing we have been living for all season.”
“Does it make the pressure bigger? Yes, it does.
“But does it make your chances bigger? Yes it does.
“We are playing at home, we have had enough time between Huddersfield and QPR.
“We needed the rest, we needed the freshness – psychologically and physically.
“Now everything goes into this 90 minutes, into this one game and we have to be prepared for everything, everything.
“Physically, mentally, tactically, technically, everything.”
Bilic confirmed Albion will virtually be a full-strength for tomorrow’s game with Kieran Gibbs the only absentee with a calf problem.
“They’re all fine – Kieran is the only one that is still feeling a little bit tight,” the boss added.
“I don’t believe that it disturbs QPR. He won’t be selected.”