Slaven Bilic says keeping West Brom players strong is priority

Boss Slaven Bilic admits he is left angry and hurt after every Albion defeat – but insists he will always put his own disappointment aside in order to lift the spirits of his players.

Slaven Bilic says staying upbeat is the key
Slaven Bilic says staying upbeat is the key

The Baggies travel to take on Newcastle on Saturday looking to find a win that will reignite their hopes of staying in the Premier League.

After impressive performances against Tottenham and Manchester United, Albion secured their first win of the campaign against Sheffield United.

But they were then brought back down to earth with a bump when – following a controversial red card for Matheus Pereira – they were thrashed at home by Crystal Palace last weekend.

Bilic admits having seemingly gained some momentum, the defeat to Roy Hodgson’s side has hurt both him and his players. But the boss says it’s his job – together with his staff and senior players – to make sure there is now no hangover.

“It’s not easy when you are not winning games,” the boss said. “It’s never nice, whether you are a new manager or an experienced manager.

“Over the years you can worry a bit less. But you are never as happy after a win as you are down after a defeat.

“Defeat hurts you physically.

“After a win you are happy, you celebrate but a defeat kills you. And as a manager, it drains you because you know you have to spread your energy to lift everyone up.

“It takes its toll. It takes energy. But you have to lift them for the next game, whenever that game is.

“It could be 25 players you have to lift and maybe your staff as well because defeats hurt them too.

“Can you do it alone? No. You need your leaders on the pitch.

“But it is a big part of your job.

“It’s a bit easier for me now because I have been doing it for 15/20 years.

“But you can never be happy with a defeat if you love the job and if you are passionate.”

Bilic says ensuring morale is high is now a huge part of a manager’s role.

“It’s a big part of the job – especially with the position we are in,” the Croatian continued.

“Mentally there is so much media to deal with and big pressure due to where we are in the table.

“The mental state of them individually but also as a team is decisive.

“It’s a big task and a big job and you have to concentrate on that, it’s not just tactics. Tactics are key but it’s not only tactics, you have to look after the players mentally.

“But nothing can help with that better than performances, your position in the table and victories.

“The key to a good season is staying upbeat and positive during those bad spells, during those turbulences.”

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