And right-back reveals boss' target against top-four teams
BILLY Jones has revealed a mental check-list heading into each game is what is helping get the best out of him this season.
The 26-year-old right-back has played every minute in an Albion defence that has conceded only six goals in seven Barclays Premier League games.
And the former Crewe and Preston ace has impressed in a division he says he now feels comfortable in after just over two seasons in the top-flight.
"I just try to consistently perform well within the team,” said Jones.
“It's nice to hear people saying good things about you - it gives you confidence.
“I feel more like a Premier League player now than I ever have done.
“Where have I improved? I don't know - I just to try improve every aspect.
“Sometimes I've done a job but because it's been part of a great team performance it has stood out more.
“I've learnt from mistakes I've made - tried to avoid them.
“I try to defend well now first and foremost; keep clean sheets and try to assist goals.
“I'm a harsh critic on myself.
“Games I've played in the past, stuff I've done, maybe I go in with a mental check list.
“Things like 'don't slide in the box' - I don't think I'll ever slide in the box again because of last season's Fulham game - rash decisions I've made, maybe goals which have resulted from over-covering, just things you get from when you play.
“You have a check list when you go into games.
“If you stick to those you know you've every chance of a good performance.”
Jones is also delighted he has been part of a team that is well on the way to achieving Steve Clarke’s target of taking more points off the top-four teams than last season.
Victory at reigning champions Manchester United and a draw with Arsenal means they have already matched the four points they took of United, Manchester City, Chelsea and the Gunners last term.
“We're all buzzing,” he added.
“After our start there was a disappointment in the camp.
“But we have such a strong squad now and that's shown since the squad was completed on transfer deadline day.
"We've been unbeaten since the last international break and that's reward for our performances.
“The gaffer always sets high expectations.
“He said we only took four points from the top four last season and he wanted us to improve that.
“We showed that belief against United and Arsenal.
“We, as a team, believe we can get something even when others outside don't.
“We've done that twice and we know we can do it again if we keep that belief.
“We've shown we can handle those teams.
“We know we have to turn up and play well.
“Perhaps the performances we have put in against those teams mean they'll be more fired up in future.
“But we have the belief to cause upsets.”