We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips has slammed Kyle Bartley for a “schoolboy error” that saw Harry Kane score a late winner for Tottenham against West Brom on Sunday.
Albion put in one of their best performances of the season at The Hawthorns but were unravelled late on when Matt Doherty’s dangerous cross was headed in by Kane.
Many fans pointed the finger at goalkeeper Sam Johnstone for getting caught in no man’s land but Phillips believes Bartley should have done better.
“I don’t think they were overrun, they didn’t get absolutely murdered. I thought they created some opportunities,” Phillips told West Brom News.
“It doesn’t help they lost Matheus Pereira and Branislav Ivanovic not long before the game. Sometimes it’s difficult to shuffle the team around.
“The goal was avoidable. I think it was a schoolboy error from Bartley, getting caught the wrong side. That was a huge blow to concede at that point at the game.”
Slaven Bilic has found himself under pressure in recent weeks with The Telegraph suggesting that the Croatian manager could be sacked if Albion were rolled over by Spurs.
That didn’t happen as the Baggies put in a good display and only lost by one goal.
Phillips thinks there were enough positives to suggest Bilic is safe but has warned that we’re in a stage of the season where managers usually face the chop
Phillips added: “They didn’t get battered so there are always positives to take from playing against a side like Tottenham, who are title-challengers with the way the league is looking at the moment.
“There are signs there but we are in silly season now. I saw Garry Monk go and you can see many other managers following suit at this stage of the season.
“I hope with that performance, and obviously with Pereira and Ivanovic coming back, that Bilic will get some more time but again, it’s another loss so the longer it goes on, the more pressure will keep building.”
West Brom appear to have held fire on sacking Bilic for now but a match away at Manchester United is up next for Albion after the international break is over.
Ole Gunnar Solsksjaer’s side have not done too well so far this term but it’s still a daunting place to go for a manager who is under pressure.
But a positive result there, or an encouraging performance like the one against Tottenham, should stop the Baggies from sacking Bilic for at least another week.
After Man United, Albion play Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle – three matches they should be trying to win.
Let’s judge Bilic on results against those teams, not against Man United.
In other West Brom news, there’s been another twist in the Baggies’ ownership mystery.