West Brom boss Slaven Bilic a 'psychologist' in Championship promotion race

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West Brom boss Slaven Bilic 1:20
West Brom head coach Slaven Bilic says he has become a 'psychologist' to his players amid the Championship promotion race.

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic says his role is currently more like a "psychologist" than a coach as his side attempt to seal automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Albion are second in the Sky Bet Championship and host fellow promotion hopefuls Fulham on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports, sitting three points ahead of in-form Brentford.

With leaders Leeds not playing Barnsley until Thursday, a two-goal win would put West Brom back on top on goals scored.

Bilic's side drew 1-1 at Blackburn on Saturday, and the Croatian admits his main challenge following the game has been to refocus his players' minds.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Blackburn and West Brom.

"During the pre-season you can be 80 per cent focused on tactical and let the fitness coach deal with the fitness, and you can allow mistakes in training, in friendly games," Bilic told Sky Sports News.

"But now you are a psychologist, you are there for them mentally.

"It doesn't have to be organised meeting you know, sometimes those organised meetings are like 'why are we having a meeting?'

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"It's more about those wee talks, two-minute talks, individual talks, talks in pairs, those things where… you are not lifting them up because they're down, you are convincing them in something that they've basically done yesterday."

Saturday's draw against Blackburn was the first time West Brom had dropped points in four games, yet Bilic accepted that there is still some apprehension amongst his squad.

"It's that stage of the season, until you cross that line of course there is anxiety," he said.

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic
Image: Bilic admits there is anxiety in the West Brom camp ahead of their crucial clash with Fulham

"Brentford are pushing us to the limit but we are doing well. If it wasn't for them it would be done but they are doing well.

"We have to continue doing what we are doing and that is winning games. Of course the supporters are nervous, the players are a bit nervous, everyone is. It's a big thing. If it was easy it wouldn't be a big achievement.

"It's not a question of are we enjoying the pressure? We'd prefer to be without it but we are responding really well to the pressure."

Albion are five points clear of fourth-placed Fulham who need to win to keep their hopes of automatic promotion alive.

"We are playing against a very good team, one which is on a very good run and they still have chances for automatic promotion," Bilic added.

"We have to be on top of our game because of the opponent, we have to be very confident and extremely brave."

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