And defender reckons underdog tag sits well with Albion heading to Arsenal
JONAS Olsson believes the future remains bright for the Baggies after describing this season as the most ‘stressful’ of his six at The Hawthorns.
Albion head to Arsenal today (ko 1.30pm) knowing a victory will secure their Barclays Premier League status for an unprecedented fifth successive term.
Should the Baggies come away from the Emirates Stadium encounter empty-handed they will still effectively be safe this evening if Norwich fail to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the late kick-off.
And the Sweden international, who still has two years remaining on a four-year contract, is happy to write off this campaign as a stumbling block, with the aim of kicking on again next season.
“It’s been draining this season, it’s been stressful,” said Olsson.
“We’ve basically been in the relegation battle since before Christmas so it’s been tough, I’m not going to lie about that.
“But I’m happy at this club and I still see a bright future for it.
“I’ve got two more years on my contract and I’ve got no intention not to honour that.”
He added: “It’s been my most difficult season since I’ve been here.
“We have ambitions, targets and goals.
“But I think for a club our size we also have to be realistic, with the budget and fan base we have, there are going to be seasons like this.
“Sunderland, who have a bigger budget than us, are below us, Fulham have been relegated and Villa are down there.
“West Ham and Newcastle went down a few years ago.
“That’s the league; you have five, six, seven teams up there fighting for the title and Champions League places.
“Then you have 12 or 13 teams who, if they have a bad season and things don’t go their way, they’re going to have a tough time.
“But I still think this club is going the right way in terms of what I said when I signed my last contract; bringing in players, developing the facilities and stadium, and having ambitions to finish high.
“I see this as a below-par season but I still think this club is progressing in a way I like.”
The 31-year-old was part of the Albion team that pulled off a shock 3-2 top-flight win at the Emirates in September 2010.
And he feels the Baggies thrive with the underdog tag, having taken points off all-but one of the division’s top seven teams this campaign.
He insisted: “We’re humble about the task of going to the Emirates; it’s a tough one.
“It’s been a tough season for us but we’ve shown, apart from a few games, we have done very well against the top teams.
“It was a 1-1 draw with Arsenal at The Hawthorns earlier in the season - so why not?
“If we have a good day I think we can something out of it.
“I guess it is easier being the underdog in some way.
“That’s been the key to our success over the last few years.
“We’ve been playing well against the top teams but we have struggled against the teams around us.
“That’s something we might have to address next season and analyse a little bit better.”