Xenia Sports – London
Slaven Bilic admits West Brom’s basement battle with Sheffield United is already crucial to their survival hopes.
Albion host the Blades on Saturday with both clubs winless in the Premier League this season.
The Baggies are two points above the rock-bottom Blades, who have lost eight of their nine games so far despite a summer spending spree which included a record £23.5million deal to recruit Rhian Brewster from Liverpool.
Bilic’s side have scored just once in their last five matches and, with both teams in danger of being cut adrift, the manager knows the importance of the game.
“We are hungry enough, I’m sure they are the same, it’ll be a very interesting and big game,” he said. “Although it’s still early days it’s a big game for both teams.
“For them it’s a second season and that syndrome, it’s only human you drop a little bit or you are not so crazy or enthusiastic.
“For us we are newcomers and trying to find our way and position in every game. It’s a bit of unluckiness, late goals, decisions. It’s the whole package.
“It’s a little bit of everything. Maybe a couple of injuries, a slow start and the confidence goes down.
“No matter what we are in a good mood, we are in a positive atmosphere, training hard and we know we are in every game. We are the only ones who can change it. We are anything but miserable, we are very positive.”
It is the first time the teams have met in the Premier League and just their third meeting in almost 11 years.
Albion go into the game have lost their last three – including a damaging 2-0 defeat by drop rivals Fulham – but Bilic vowed their form will turn.
He said: “We are together, we are in it. One of the reasons for that is that in almost every game we are that close. It’s not like we are miles away and have no chance. We are there, no matter who we play against.
“The closest we were to three points was against Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United so every game is an opportunity.
“We are going to force the luck, momentum and quality to change to our side.”