Bilić enjoying 'positive pressure'

Slaven Bilić is keen to embrace the "positive pressure" of his Albion side sitting top of the Sky Bet Championship table.

The Baggies sit at the summit of the standings with 12 games played having recorded a fourth win in five matches courtesy of a 1-0 victory at Middlesbrough.

It remains only mid-October, with a long way to go in what is a demanding campaign, but Bilić insists the pressure of being at the right end of the table is certainly more favourable than the opposite.

"It's pressure but it's a positive pressure," said the Baggies Head Coach, speaking post-match at the Riverside Stadium.

"It's a positive pressure, that's why we play, that's why we train from the end of June - to try to win games.

"And the more games you win, you're going to be closer to the top of the table and that's going to add the pressure.

"But, make no mistake, this is a totally different type of pressure than when you are fighting for your life. That's pressure. This is enjoying it."

The Baggies sealed all three points on Teesside thanks to Hal Robson-Kanu's 82nd-minute winner.

It came towards the end of a hard-fought encounter which had seen both sides enjoy opportunities to open the scoring.

Bilić felt his side improved after the interval and saluted his charges for deservedly coming away with the spoils from a difficult game.

"Of course we are delighted with it, especially after the international break when there's always a little bit of a question mark over getting that focus back," he said.

"Cardiff seems to be ages ago and you want to continue how you finished against Cardiff, but they were away for a couple of weeks.

"And if you add to that that this is Middlesbrough, add to that the clean sheet, add to that that a striker scored - it makes it a great win."

The Baggies boss also confirmed he expects Matt Phillips to be available for Tuesday night's home clash against Barnsley after the winger missed out due to a shin injury.

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