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Slaven Bilic: West Brom players must toughen up

Slaven Bilic has demanded his players toughen up and become more streetwise after admitting Albion have been too nice this season.

A dejected Slaven Bilic (AMA)
A dejected Slaven Bilic (AMA)

A sobering defeat at Fulham on Monday has changed the outlook on the Baggies start to the season with the result seeing the team slump into the relegation zone.

Decent performances that led to draws against Burnley and Brighton had lifted the mood ahead of the trip to the capital.

But Fulham completely outplayed Albion to register their first league victory of the season – with Scott Parker’s side unlucky not to have won by a greater margin.Bilic admitted his team were far too easy to play against at Craven Cottage. And he feels that, in part, is down to his side being too nice.

“That is a part of it – it isn’t just that but that is a part of it,” Bilic the head coach said when asked if his team is too nice. “At Fulham we looked like a team who are good on the ball but who don’t want to hurt the opponents.

“As soon as they scored you saw them winning second balls and growing in the game. You saw them quicker, sharper and stronger in the air. We have to be more mature, more streetwise, a little bit dirty. I agree, we are too nice.”

Despite the lacklustre display at Craven Cottage, Bilic insisted he and his players have the hunger and desire needed to avoid relegation this season. “Of course the fight is still there, of course there is fight,” the boss said.

“There is still a spark. But I have told the guys they have to wake up and play much better. We can’t just enjoy the Premier League and think that it’s enough just to be here. We have to try harder.

“It’s not that we deliberately thought we were going to have an easy game. But we have to start producing..”

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