West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has praised the work done by West Brom boss Tony Pulis ahead of their Premier League clash on Sunday.
Bilic believes Pulis’ approach deserves more credit despite the fact it has previously been criticised by managers and the media.
The former Stoke and Crystal Palace manager was criticised for the way he set his team up to face Manchester United but Bilic hailed the “honesty” of Pulis’ football philosophy.
“Tony Pulis gets criticised for his brand of football, but he doesn’t hide it like others,” the Croatian said.
“There are a lot of clubs playing exactly the same way in many parts of the game. In England, they all sit back when opponents have a direct attacking style.
“He is a great coach and a very honest man.”
Bilic is hoping to turn West Ham’s fortunes around after their 4-1 thrashing against London rivals Tottenham last week but acknowledges that Albion, who are 12th in the table, are going to be a tough opponent to beat.
“I watched Albion against Everton in September when they lost 3-2 at home. They were winning 2-0 and scored the second goal after 54 minutes.
“They played good football which was enjoyable to watch. They weren’t 2-0 up because of set-pieces alone or negative tactics.
“Of course, Pulis’ teams are very well organised and every team in the Premier League have quality now.
“They have Saido Berahino, Salomon Rondon, Rickie Lambert and Stephane Sessegnon – all players who give them pace, goals and a physical presence.
“That is the strength of this league.”
Bilic described Pulis as “pragmatic” and knows any side managed by the Welshman is one which will be hard to crack.
He said: “”He is very passionate and understands football in many different leagues across Europe.
“I respect him also because he never tells lies, even though you can bend the truth in football when the result allows you to.
“His West Brom team achieved a big win against Arsenal, but he said they were lucky and needed to defend very well.
“He is pragmatic. He uses what he has to to achieve reasonable objectives.
“When critics put a label on you, it sticks – even if your teams are not like that week in, week out.”
Bilic must make a decision on who will replace the suspended Mark Noble in the Hammers’ midfield, with either Pedro Obiang or Alex Song set to start.