West Brom boss Slaven Bilic backs calls for five-sub rule

Albion head coach Slaven Bilic has backed the reintroduction of five substitutes in Premier League.

West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic
West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic

The Croatian takes his side to Old Trafford today looking to secure a first league win of the campaign against an under-performing Manchester United.

This weekend, the EFL has decided to reintroduce a rule that allows teams to make as many as five subs in a game – something that first came into effect for Project Restart.

The Premier League is the only major competition in Europe which opted to return to just three substitutions at the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have both been critical of the decision and believe it has led to an increase in injuries this season.

But some bosses fear more subs plays to the strengths of the bigger clubs, who have more strength in depth at their disposal.

Bilic, though, believes the five-subs rule should be introduced for the physical and mental wellbeing of players.

“It would benefit every club, in the sense of the welfare of the players,” the boss said. “The schedule now, especially for the teams who are playing in Europe, it’s hard and difficult. And then you have international games.

“It would help to keep the health of the players. We spoke about it as managers, for two or three hours in a meeting on Wednesday. For me, the Premier League must decide.

“I think that the welfare of the players is the most important thing. It isn’t only for Liverpool or Man City.

“It is a strange season. The break after last season wasn’t long enough.

“It’s very difficult on and off the pitch for the players who can’t see their families as they’ve done last season or in a normal season.

“We have to help the players to stay in a good state of mind, and to keep them away from the injuries.

“The thing with the three or five substitutions should have a big impact on that.”

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