Xenia Sports – London
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic has urged his whole team to improve on the goalscoring front.
The 19th-placed Baggies have the worst goals-against tally in the Premier League this season at 23, with 16 of those coming in the first three games of the campaign plus last weekend’s 5-1 loss to Crystal Palace.
At the same time, they have scored a total of just eight goals in their 11 outings so far, and just three times across their last eight matches.
Bilic said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle: “I wouldn’t say (it is a) worry, but I would say that is the part of the game where we basically have to improve.
“It is down to the whole team of course but we are pushing the team to give support to the players who play in those areas in the final third.
“They need help, they need support, but they have got to do better. They are the ones who have to convert these chances that the other guys are creating together with them.”
West Brom’s equaliser against Palace and winner in their 1-0 victory against Sheffield United the weekend before were both scored by Conor Gallagher, the 20-year-old midfielder who is on loan from Chelsea.
Bilic said of the England Under-21 international: “He is playing well. It is not only goals.
“The people who are not deep in West Brom, they see he scored goals, yes, great – even without the goals he is playing good, he is doing great for us.
“He has got a bit of everything – not a bit, a lot of everything. He’s got the brain, the composure, legs, he is hungry to go in the box, he has a great timing of doing that, and he’s got a good finish, good right foot, very good in defence, very good in building up.
“So it is not only that he has scored two goals. You can be lucky and score two goals, even at this level. But his performances are one thing that is making me very, very happy.”
Albion, whose win over Sheffield United was their first league victory of the season, head into Saturday’s contest without the suspended Matheus Pereira.
The Brazilian begins a three-match ban after his dismissal against Palace, moments on from Gallagher’s 30th-minute goal, and an unsuccessful appeal by his club.
Newcastle also faced Palace in their last match – after that 2-0 win on November 27, their match against Aston Villa scheduled for last Friday was postponed following a coronavirus outbreak that forced the closure of the Magpies’ training ground.
Newcastle, who were 13th in the table after the last round of top-flight matches, subsequently returned to training on Tuesday.