Slaven Bilic has got off to a decent start to his West Brom career and will be pleased that his side are inside the play-off places and just two points off top spot.
His Baggies side are still unbeaten although they left it late to sneak a point at home to Reading on Wednesday, and he is hoping for his players to show something more as they take on Derby in the early kick-off at Pride Park.
The former West Ham boss is aware of the threat posed by the Rams, but is confident of his team’s chances if they increase their time in possession.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference, as reported by Express & Star, Bilic said: “We have to extend the minutes we are dominating, but to nullify that is practically impossible.
“A football game is long, like life. It’s difficult to be like that [dominant] no matter how much we want it.
“First of all, the opponent also have good players there. Sometimes they keep the ball well, it takes time to go up when they take you down. Our job is to keep them fresh and motivated, tactically aware of the small jobs, closing down and all that.”
The Croatian will be pleased that new signing Kenneth Zohore got off the mark for his new club by grabbing the equaliser against Reading, whilst Matheus Pereira could make his first start after joining on loan in the summer.
Bilic has a bit of a selection headache, therefore, and after making changes for the Reading match, he could in fact recall those players who missed out.
This is a surprising statement from Bilic as West Brom have dominated possession in every match they’ve played so far, and boasted 59% of the ball against Reading.
Despite that, they haven’t used the ball effectively enough, as their goal-scoring record indicates, and this is likely the area Bilic is keen to address.
He should probably look to rotate some players in order to keep the team fresh and on their toes, and he will hope the competition for places will lead to improved performances.