YOUSSOUF Mulumbu claims the ‘pressure’ of signing his new deal will drive him on to bigger and better things at Albion.
The fan-favourite has today expressed his delight at being rewarded with a new-and-improved contract which commits him to the club until 2016.
Mulumbu is proud of the progress both he and the club have made since he arrived from Paris Saint-Germain four-and-a-half years ago – and is desperate for that upward trend to continue.
He now claims he must show he is full value for his new deal and wants the club to prove they are the best side in the Midlands for the third year running.
“I’m delighted and really happy,” said the DR Congo international, who along with his team-mates is being put through his paces at the pre-season training camp in Bad Waltersdorf, Austria.
“I came back from my holidays and saw my friend Nicolas [Anelka] had signed. Now I’ve signed a new contract.
“I think this deal puts me under a little bit of pressure because I need to improve again.
“We all need to produce another good season.
“We’ve improved every year I’ve been here. In the Barclays Premier League, we’ve finished 11th, tenth and eighth and I’m really looking forward to the new season, as I think we have brought a good element with Nicolas signing.”
Mulumbu may have been away from The Hawthorns for two months during his summer break but claims his thoughts have never strayed far away from B71.
“When you finish the season, you look to the future and every player wants to play in a big team,” said the 2010/11 players and fans’ Player of the Year.
“But if the club you are at responds and grows, we can grow up together.
“I’m 26 and I think I’m in a good team. I’m really happy with my situation and I hope we’re going to progress again.
“We’re going to be under pressure because, at the moment, we are the best team in the Midlands.
“We need to try to prove that again this year.”
Mulumbu’s box-to-box displays have made him the darling of the fans – and the feeling is mutual.
“I have to tell them thank you for everything they’ve done for me,” he added.
“Their songs, their support, every tweet, every message...they show me love and I try to respond on the pitch by giving my best.
“The fact is that, if you’re in a team that progresses each year, you don’t have to leave.
“I want to play in the best team I can and I think West Brom matches with that.
“Every year, we have improved. We have some decent players here like Morrison, Olsson and Brunty.
“If you add some great players like Nicolas, I think we can improve again.
“I think we’ll also sign more players and I’m looking forward to playing again with the lads already here.”