Ex-West Bromwich Albion forward Kevin Phillips had admitted he understands why some fans booed the Baggies at half-time in their midweek tie against Derby County, speaking in an interview with West Brom News.
After a fast start to life back in the Championship, winning four and drawing one of their opening five league games before the international break, with their 100% record being denied by a very strong AFC Bournemouth side on the opening day of the 2021/22 campaign, the West Midlands side have struggled recently.
Although they have managed to maintain their unbeaten run, they only managed to get draws against Millwall, Derby County and Preston North End, scoring just twice in those three games and allowing their promotion rivals to leapfrog them in the second-tier table.
Quiz: 24 questions about some of West Brom’s best ever strikers – Can you get 100% correct?
This lack of potency has cost them, with Valerien Ismael’s men now sitting third in the Championship and missing the opportunity to go above Fulham who lost at 2-1 at home to Reading yesterday.
Although the Cottagers have lost two league games so far this season, they have managed to win one more game than the West Midlands side, keeping them one point above West Brom in the table and leaving Ismael’s side looking over their shoulder.
With the Baggies drawing 0-0 at half-time against Derby County, which went on to be the final score at The Hawthorns, many home fans voiced their displeasure at the interval. Despite their unbeaten start, former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips understands these boos and said: “I think it’s a testament (the boos) to the way West Brom have started the season and what they’ve seen.
“I was there at the Sheffield United game and they played really well but you can’t get too carried away.
“It’s just the state of the season where West Brom are and they expect them to win all their home games.
“Certainly against Millwall and Derby, they’re two teams you’d expect West Brom to win against.
“It’s just a natural frustration from the players and the supporters where sometimes you can’t help yourself but boo.
“It’s just one of those things when you’re expecting to win matches and the players will have to get used to it.
“Whether it’s warranted or not, I understand why the supporters did it.”
It’s a tricky one – because West Brom have started the league season well and haven’t lost a game yet which should be a real plus for the recently-relegated side.
Unlike Sheffield United, the Baggies managed to get off to a good start which was important considering their relegation last season, made even more vital by their new appointment and the need for Valerien Ismael to settle in quickly.
However, you almost feel they needed another forward to provide them with a sufficient amount of attacking firepower up top – and Kevin Phillips even suggested another winger would have been useful in their quest to stay at the top end of the Championship.
They may have suffered an injury crisis in central defence, but it’s their attack that currently needs some surgery and they will be hoping the likes of Jordan Hugill and Matt Phillips can step up and lead by example as they look to get back on tracks.
Turning draws into wins will be key to their bid to automatic promotion. Many people believe they will be in the top six, but whether they can avoid the lottery of the play-offs like they were able to last time will depend on this.
But they will also need the fans’ full backing. You can understand why there were boos because of the frustration and disappointment after such a disappointing set of results though, now is the time for the players to make it up to the supporters.