Something special about West Brom for Filip Krovinovic

Filip Krovinovic says he has enjoyed a good relationship at all his clubs – but the midfielder admits there is something special about Albion.

Filip Krovinovic of West Bromwich Albion (AMA)
Filip Krovinovic of West Bromwich Albion (AMA)

The Croatian first joined the Baggies on loan from Benfica last season and quickly became a fans favourite.

Now back at The Hawthorns for a second loan stint, the 25-year-old is expected to play a key role as Albion work to establish themselves in the top flight.

And midfielder admits he is thrilled Albion managed to resign him so he could return ‘home’.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with the clubs I have been at,” Krovinovic said. “At my first club in Croatia (NK Zagreb) and at both clubs I have had in Portugal (Rio Ave and Benfica). But here it is something special, it’s one level up. It’s unbelievable and I didn’t expect it. I’m delighted to be back with this team, this club, my family.”

Prior to his return, head coach Slaven Bilic said he would have been ‘extremely disappointed’ if Albion hadn’t managed to bring Krovinovic back for a second spell.The boss said he wanted him back first and foremost for his ability on the ball and because he makes the players around him in the team better.

But Bilic also believes Krovinovic is crucial in the dressing room, with the 52-year-old describing his fellow countryman as someone who is always smiling.

And Krovinovic revealed he gets his upbeat personality from his mum. “I’ve been like that all my life, even if the results aren’t going well I’ll always bring the positives to help the team,” he said.

“I think it’s my mother’s genes. It’s her fault – no, not fault, gift!

“So yes, I’m always happy, even with the weather here in England!”

While very popular in Albion’s dressing room, it’s well known Krovinovic has struck up a particularly strong friendship with Matheus Pereira.

Despite the Croatian being contracted to Benfica and the Brazilian having previously been at Sporting, they never met when they both lived in Lisbon. But the duo clicked as soon as they arrived at Albion.

“The first time I met him was here,” Krovinovic added. “He had heard about me and I had heard about him. But when Benfica played Lisbon I think he was suspended or something like that.

“Then the next time we played I was injured. We never met on the pitch but we knew of each other.

“When we came here, he didn’t speak a lot of English so I helped him a lot – on the pitch and off the pitch.

“And then we realised we are very similar, he is just one year younger than me, we like the same jokes. In the past he played under a manager that I had also played under so we spoke about him a lot of times.

“We had some connections. And then when you have a player like him on the pitch who is similar to me and we had that understanding straight away, it’s even better.

“We like to play. I like to give him the ball. He likes to give it to me – we do double passes. Like tika-taka!”

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