Slaven Bilic eyeing clean sheets after West Brom defeat Huddersfield

Fifteen of West Brom’s 16 points this season have come from losing positions.

By Press Association Published: 22 September 2019 - 3.05pm

West Brom head coach Slaven Bilic wants clean sheets to provide the gloss to his team’s unbeaten start to their Sky Bet Championship season after they came from behind to beat Huddersfield 4-2.

Fifteen of West Brom’s 16 points this season have come from losing positions.

“Clean sheets is not only down to you – there’s opponents, an element of luck because the game is over 90 minutes,” said Bilic.

The Terriers twice led through Lewis O’Brien after 16 minutes then Karlan Grant 10 minutes before the interval after Matt Phillips levelled.

Two goals in five second-half minutes – both set up by half-time substitute Grady Diangana – won it for West Brom, who moved up to fourth place in the Championship after stretching their unbeaten start to eight games.

On-loan West Ham winger Diangana crossed for Darrell Furlong to head home to make it 2-2 in the 70th minute, then Diangana’s mazy solo run teed up Phillips to win it before Semi Ajayi added the gloss late on.

Bilic added: “I would love us to close them better over 90 minutes, to be better on 50-50s, to be better on second balls, to be better in protection on the player who is in a challenge with somebody – make two against one.

“It’s easy to talk but if we do that, it should put us in a better position to get a clean sheet.

“We should not be obsessed with clean sheets, but let’s improve on those things then the clean sheets will come. That’s where we have to improve.”

Huddersfield have lost 28 out of their previous 33 league games and are now 19 matches without a win in all competitions, but they led 2-1 at the break.

New Huddersfield boss Danny Cowley will put his players through a mini pre-season after expressing concerns for their fitness after they suffered a second-successive defeat since taking over.

“It’s more a mental thing – after 60 minutes, we were 2-1 up at West Brom and the feeling was we were playing for the end, instead of playing to the end,” said Cowley.

“There’s a big difference and we need to be tougher at that moment.

“We will periodise this next spell to try to get the players to the fitness levels they need to be at.

“You have to be very careful in season because games come thick and fast and you can end up breaking them if you’re not careful, so we have to make sure it’s gradual and layered.

“What we will look to do is get five per cent gains each week from a physiological point of view then we will reload in the sixth week to allow the fitness adaptation to take place.”