Slaven Bilic experienced his first defeat as West Brom manager in the Carabao Cup and he has expressed his disappointment at the early exit.
Speaking post-match, the Croatian admitted that he was hoping for a cup run this season and feels unfortunate not to have progressed given his team’s performance.
Millwall ran out 2-1 winners at the Hawthorns despite falling behind to a Charlie Austin goal, a goal which is one positive Bilic can take from the match.
Speaking to the West Brom media team, Bilic said: “I’m gutted. I’m very disappointed because we want to progress in a cup, it’s good to be in a cup.
“Did we change the team? Yes, we changed the team. Not because we took this game easy, no, because we have a good squad and it was the right time to try the players who we are definitely going to use.
“After half-an-hour, we were on top, should have scored more goals but, again, from a set-piece, we conceded a goal too easily.”
The former West Brom certainly believes there are things to work on, but he is early into his reign and there is plenty of time for him to change things on the training ground.
Despite his frustration with the defeat, he may take solace in the fact it didn’t occur in the league, so the defeat did not damage their promotion ambitions.
Many Championship managers would have looked on a cup defeat with slight indifference, but not Bilic.
That shows his winning mentality. He would have no doubt made it clear to his team that defeats of that manner are unacceptable and the squad will be better for it.
On paper, it is a match The Baggies should win, but failing that the opportunity for Bilic to view his fringe players should be satisfactory enough; but winning breeds confidence and Bilic would have been keen for a first win at the Hawthorns after the weekend draw against Millwall.
It is positive for fans to see Bilic’s mindset. They have already been impressed by what they’ve seen from Bilic and his winning determination should rub off on the entire club, not just the players.