Defender strives for strong start to new season
JONAS Olsson has stressed the importance of a good start to the forthcoming Barclays Premier League campaign after the 2014/15 fixtures were announced today.
Albion open the season at home to Sunderland on Saturday August 16 before away trips to Southampton and Swansea in the first three matches.
Much has been made of a daunting run-in which sees the campaign finish with fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Chelsea and then Arsenal on the final day on Sunday May 24.
But defender Olsson insists he is more focused on the start of the campaign and ensuring the Baggies get off on the right foot.
“It’s a tough run-in but hopefully we’ll be in a better state at the end of the season than we were last season,” the Sweden international said.
“It’s not something I make too much of. If anything I think it’s better to get winnable games, so to speak, early on and hopefully get a good start.
“This year is about getting a good start, which we didn’t last year, and we ended up chasing it all season. We’ll do everything to get a good start this year.
“The last games are always going to be important of course but hopefully they won’t be as crucial and we won’t be in a relegation battle next season.”
Albion started last term with a 1-0 defeat at home to Southampton before finally registering their maiden triumph with a 3-0 home success over Sunderland towards the end of September.
Baggies fans will be hoping for a similar outcome against the Black Cats on the opening day, with summer signing Craig Gardner facing an early reunion against his former employers while Billy Jones also makes a swift return to The Hawthorns.
And Olsson is delighted the Black Country club will open the new campaign on home soil.
“I think the first game is always special regardless of who you’re playing,” he said.
“It’s always good to start at home so that’s nice.
“Sunderland is a test, they finished very well of course last season. It’ll be tough.
“But the first thing that comes into my mind is that it’s a home game.”