West Brom v Chelsea: Slaven Bilic uses positivity in bid to beat Blues

Head coach Slaven Bilic says Albion’s camp is a positive one as they prepare to take on Chelsea tomorrow.

Slaven Bilic head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)
Slaven Bilic head coach / manager of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

The Baggies have fallen to defeats against Leicester and Everton in their opening two matches back in the Premier League.

But results alone don’t tell the story of how they have adjusted to life back among English football’s elite.

Bilic was pleased with how his side performed for the best part of an hour against the Foxes.

And the Baggies were excellent during the first-half at Goodison Park – with Kieran Gibbs’ red card just before the interval proving a huge turning point.

Bilic admits the negativity of losing games is something his team is getting used to – with Albion so impressive in the Championship last term.

And he is determined his players focus on the positives and remain upbeat – both ahead of the visit of Chelsea and also throughout the season.

“By being positive,” Bilic said, when asked how he copes with the negativity that has stemmed from two defeats.

“Okay, you can’t come in laughing. You have to be critical, but you can’t be down.

“It’s not easy because it has come all of a sudden. We only recently got promoted. Last year we lost seven games.

“Seven times out of 46 you are sad, you are angry. But mainly we were happy.

“Now it’s a bit different. We want to stop it, we want to make it like last year.

“But we can only do it by keeping the positivity in the camp.

“Not only me, every member of the staff. We have to transmit that positivity to the players and we are doing that.

“It’s not nice when you lose 5-2 at Everton. But there were a lot of positives in it.

“First-half, almost absolutely positive. And it’s the beginning of the season.

“We know we can’t concede goals from set-plays, make simple mistakes or get a red card.

“You have to criticise but there were a lot of positives there and we are a positive group.”

Albion’s attacking trio of Callum Robinson, Matheus Pereira and Grady Diangana particularly impressed at Goodison Park.

Both Pereira and Diangana were on target with stunning strikes while Robinson led the line well. But Bilic felt it was a well-rounded team performance that gave those players a platform to perform.

“They got themselves in positions to finish our good work,” the head coach continued. “They were good. But they were also good because the whole team was playing well.

“The team got them in the positions up the pitch where they can show their talent and qualities.

“We want to replicate that but improve also. We know we cannot concede from set-plays.

“From set-plays it almost doesn’t matter if you have 10 or 11 on the pitch. But the way we conceded, with the size we have, we had enough inches on the pitch.

“Everton scored two easy goals from set-plays. We have to be better.

“When you are the underdog, you have to count on opponent red cards, on sloppiness, on set-pieces.

“It’s your chance. It can’t be the other way around.”

Chelsea have splashed the cash this summer with Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy arriving for a reported £230million.

And Bilic expects Frank Lampard’s side to be title challengers this season.

“As a massive club they have done what they have to do,” Bilic said. “Some of the names, the talent that Frank and the club brought into Chelsea – it’s great.

“It gives their fans and players confidence that they can again become title contenders.

“They have bought top players and with Frank I don’t think it will take them a long time to gel.”

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