YOUSSOUF Mulumbu today kicked-off the build-up to next Monday’s home derby with Villa (ko 8pm) by declaring: “It’s as huge as a Champions League game.”
The DR Congo international admits the Baggies’ fierce rivalry with near-neighbours Wolves and Villa has gripped him since his arrival at The Hawthorns in 2009.
And he is hoping to further entrench his name in derby folklore after scoring a last-gasp winner in ten-man Albion’s historic 2-1 Hawthorns victory over the Claret-and-Blues in April 2011.
“As players we want to do better,” he said.
“Last year we got 49 points – and we want to beat that.
“You need targets and beating Villa is another target.
“I’m looking forward to this game.
“I’ve played in derbies against Wolves and Villa and the atmosphere is unbelievable.
“These games are really important to our fans.
“It’s a really interesting game and a huge deal – like a Champions League game.
“I didn’t know how fierce the rivalry was when I first came to Albion – but I do now!
“The fans still talk about these games one month after.
“I remember when I scored against Aston Villa – the fans were singing my name even outside the stadium.
“I’d love to do that again.”