Club News

Slav sets sights on more away day success

Slaven Bilić is loving life at The Hawthorns but admits the “calm” of playing away can help his side deliver plenty of points on the road this season.

The Baggies sit top of the Sky Bet Championship with 30 points, and more than half of that total has been achieved from their five wins and two draws away from Albion HQ. 

And the boss, who insists he prefers walking out at The Hawthorns, says there’s no reason the Baggies can’t continue their run as the league’s in-form away team.

“Nowadays in football it’s strange, because at the end of the day, at the end of the season you have more home wins, or points, than away,” said Slaven.

“But when you look at it, and it’s not easier to play away from home, it’s easier to play at home because you are playing at your stadium, on your turf in front of your fans, but sometimes at home you are rushing to create things. 

“You are not as calm, you are rushing, you want to score a goal, now! You are rushing to take a throw-in, but sometimes rushing leads to mistakes.

“You are not so worried or concerned if you don’t have as much of the ball away from home. If it’s 0-0 or, if you are drawing, you can wait for a chance. That makes you a bit calmer, bit it’s better to play at home, of course.”

Bilić has also been impressed with his side’s defensive record on the road with Albion collecting three clean sheets in their last four outings.  

He added: “It’s been really good and we’re not giving our opponents so many opportunities. And then, when we give them a chance, or when they create one we have Sam [Johnstone] who is in good form. 

“To be fair, I’m happy, because it’s teamwork to defend, to have a clean sheet. It’s not only your back four or whatever, it’s your whole team, and we have improved a lot. It’s a good thing to know and a good thing to have.” 

The atmosphere within Albion’s squad is another area that is pleasing the Baggies boss, who added: “We’ve tried to build a team spirit, that was our plan, that is every manager’s plan - to create a good spirit, a good working atmosphere, friendly but competitive.

“Results are key to that, if you don’t have the results you can still do it, you can have a better atmosphere than the others who are struggling.   

“We have had luck, although I think we deserve it, that from the start it went really well. That’s kept the atmosphere and that gave us a base, and with sessions and results, with the quality that we are showing on the pitch, that our good atmosphere is evolving and improving. The results are key, of course.” 

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