The Baggies’ previously imperious record in front of their own supporters has dried up at the business end of the campaign and a run of 13 games unbeaten in all competitions was ended by Sunderland.
Mowbray, title-winning Hawthorns boss in 2018, oversaw a Black Cats side worthy of their victory in a crunch play-off clash. The 59-year-old, though, is a big admirer of Albion’s Spanish head coach as the Baggies head into a final three games with their Championship play-off hopes hanging by a thread.
“They still have a chance, they’ve got three games so they still have a chance,” Mowbray told the Express & Star. “It’s an amazing football club. I’m not saying Carlos is unique, but he’s difference from the norm in his manner and stuff.
“I get on really well with him, I think he’s a really good coach, when you played against Huddersfield last year you played against a coached football team who knew about space and turn and ran forward, all the stuff I like about football.
“I’m not saying I’m a guru at all, I just say I see and feel a team that is coached and I’m sure the Albion fans see a team that’s got a plan and understand their central defenders wait to see where the press is coming from and pick a pass passed the press, get turned, look forward and all of a sudden you’re attacking from your backline.”
Both Albion and their visitors had their moments at The Hawthorns. The hosts started and finished the first half well and should have extended their advantage after the break but fluffed their lines in the Sunderland box.
Mowbray’s youthful Black Cats, meanwhile, were anything but wasteful and centre-back Dennis Cirkin scored twice, both from open play, to turn the game on its head.
Albion chances of forcing their way into the top six look a tall order and only a return of three wins from Sheffield United, Norwich and Swansea is likely to put them in contention.
Mowbray’s side finished the day in the sought-after sixth place, but the experienced boss retained warm words for his opposite number.
“They look like a coached team to me, he knows what he’s doing, he’s very emotional, which can be good,” Mowbray added. “For me it’s always about having a good heart, as long as the players know you’re all in this together, the day you have to leave them out, you give them the reasoning and logic, keep them on board, because next week you’ll need them.
“I like Carlos’s teams, it’s not an accident Huddersfield made the play-offs last year and West Bromwich Albion have got a good chance from a really difficult position.”
Cirkin’s second goal, a stabbed finish inside the box from a flowing move down the left involving sub and former Baggies loanee Alex Pritchard, was a throwback to Mowbray’s promotion-winning Baggies squad involving Zoltan Gera, Robert Koren, Filipe Teixeira et al.
When asked about his current side evoking Hawthorns memories, Mowbray added: “Somebody said that to me in the tunnel there... – ‘the football’s still good’. I’ve never changed as a coach with my beliefs, my first understanding of football was Brazil in the 1970 World Cup and those hazy pitches in Mexico. I’ve always loved attacking, passing, brave football.”