Matt Phillips | 'I’m feeling fit and strong again'

Matty Phillips applauds supporters at The Hawthorns after beating Swansea

Matty Phillips says missing the second half of last season was “really difficult” but stated he now feels fit, strong and ready to showcase his talents once again in an Albion shirt.

The Baggies winger produced a number of impressive performances when Carlos Corberán first joined in October, but his campaign came to an abrupt end when he picked up a quad injury during the club’s Emirates FA Cup clash with Chesterfield at The Hawthorns towards the back end of January.

Phillips has started both of Albion’s opening two league games this term and scored his side’s maiden goal of 2023/24 – a curling effort from the edge of the box against Blackburn Rovers.

And Matty says he’s determined to make up for lost time under a manager who he describes as “refreshing”.

The No.10 said: “You miss it so much when you’re out of it. You’re away from the boys a lot and you spend a lot of time working by yourself and away from the group.

“My schedule was very different to the rest of the boys. I’d be coming in after them and leaving after them as well. A lot of my work during that time was inside in the gym, especially in the early stages so you miss being around the boys.

“You miss being out on the pitch too which is what you train every day for. When that’s taken away from you it’s really difficult.

“My rehab was brilliant. I worked really hard with the medical staff and now I’m back involved.

“I had a really good pre-season which was structured. I wasn’t just thrown straight in which helped me. I’m feeling fit and strong again and I’m looking forward to a good campaign.

“I’m really enjoying my football under the boss. His work ethic and his dedication is something which you can only admire.

“The boys are constantly taking in bits from him and trying to improve as individuals and as a team.

“It’s refreshing to get completely different ideas from him compared to anyone else I’ve worked with before. I can’t speak highly enough of him.”

Phillips helped Albion secure their first victory of the new season last weekend against Swansea City.

He and his team-mates are now preparing for a clash with recently-relegated Leeds United at Elland Road on Friday night, and Matty insists morale is high heading into the encounter.

“After getting the first three points last weekend, it’s a game we’re all really looking forward to.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do this week, just like any other week. We’re relishing the opportunity to go there and give a good account of ourselves.

“For morale, I think it was great to get three points on the board last Saturday. Every team wants that first win as quickly as possible.

“We were disappointed to lose on the opening day at Blackburn but there were still positives to take from it, which we did. We then trained hard before Swansea and thankfully, in front of our fans, we got a good three points.

“We need to take the positives from that performance, but we also need to recognise what we didn’t perhaps do so well and work on that before Friday night’s game.

“Hopefully we can turn the three points on the board into six.”

  • Phillips