West Brom have questions to answer against Leeds United after enduring 'sticky patch' over Christmas
Slavan Bilic called it a ‘sticky period’ in the wake of West Brom’s disappointing draw at Barnsley on Boxing Day.
Quite what adjective the big Croatian would have used to describe the current sequence following defeat to Middlesbrough on Sunday is anyone’s guess.
Post Barnsley, West Brom had negotiated their ‘sticky’ patch of four games by collecting six points - one win and three draws.
Their lead atop the Championship was intact. All was not fluent for the Baggies, but it wasn’t drastic.
Nor is it particularly now after a 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough, but in the space of one game, questions that were being asked of Leeds’s character - emphatically answered down the road at Birmingham - are now being asked of West Brom.
The recent wobbles of both teams merely adds further spice to Wednesday’s mouthwatering, top-of-the-table clash between Bilic’s West Brom and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.
“It is a sticky period. It is a demanding period, however you want to call it,” admitted Bilic.
“It is certainly a difficult one.”
Therefore, with the fixtures coming thick and fast, Bilic is demanding a response.
And what better fixture to get up for than Leeds United at home on New Year’s Day.
Bilic questioned his players’ energy levels against Middlesbrough, and whether complacency played a part in a second successive disappointing result.
Do not expect either to be a factor when the home team crosses the white line on Wednesday tea-time.
“It’s not nice, it’s not what we wanted. This group have made it together and it’s only us who can get it back,” said Bilic.
“It’s not deliberate, we weren’t preparing for any other games (Leeds). OK today’s a bit easier and Wednesday will be a bit harder - no no no no. That wasn’t our thinking.
“But it’s a great thing to have a game in a few days, to make up for what was lacking (against Boro).”