Xenia Sports – London
Slaven Bilic has admitted the pain of losing games hurts him more than he is able to enjoy the pleasure of winning.
The West Brom boss tasted Premier League victory for the first time this season at the 10th attempt last Saturday when the Baggies edged past Sheffield United 1-0, a result which has significantly raised spirits at the training ground this week.
However as he prepared his players for Sunday’s home clash with Crystal Palace, 52-year-old Bilic revealed the hard times are still tough to swallow even almost 20 years into his managerial career.
He said: “It’s not easy. It’s never nice no matter if you are a new manager or if you are an experienced manager. But of course over the years you can take it as a little bit less worrying.
“But you are not as happy after the win as you are down after the defeat. The defeat, it hurts you physically. After the win, you are happy, you are celebrating, but the defeat kills you.
“Especially as a manager, it drains you because now you know that you have to spread your energy to the players to lift them up, and it takes its toll, it takes energy because everything is in your head.
“It’s a little bit easier now because when you do something for 15, 20 years, it’s easier, I suppose. But you can never be comfortable with a defeat if you love the job, if you are passionate.”
The promoted Baggies have collected just six of the 30 points they have contested to date, but will hope to boost their total this weekend by securing back-to-back wins.
That maybe easier said than done with Wilfried Zaha back among the Eagles’ ranks after his enforced coronavirus lay-off.
How involved he will be remains to be seen, but Bilic is acutely aware of the threat he poses and the impact he has on his team.
He said: “That’s their paradox. They don’t want the ball, so you’re thinking, ‘OK they are solid’, but no, their forte is front players. There’s so much talent in there, so much skill, pace, freshness, ideas, combinations.
“They are brilliant, not only him, but especially him. The statistic that from the last 18 games that he didn’t play, they lost 15, it’s basically unbelievable how big an influence has has on them.”