Slaven Bilic is ready to embrace the challenge of a promotion race after taking charge of Championship side West Brom.
The 50-year-old Croatian manager is back in English football, two years after leaving West Ham, having spent five months with Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad in between.
“It feels great to be back in English football with West Bromwich Albion,” Bilic said at his introductory press conference. I would like to thank the club for giving me this opportunity.”
Bilic takes charge of a West Brom side that finished fourth in the Championship last season but lost to Aston Villa in the semi-finals of the play-offs.
“It was my wish to come back and manage in England,” Bilic added. “Managing in the Championship was one of the challenges I wanted to tick off my list.
“It means a lot to be here. This club is a massive club because of the history and the fans. It’s a traditional family club, and the fans are very loyal.”
Bilic, whose playing career included spells with both the Hammers and Everton, added: “It’s not easy to play here at the Hawthorns. It’s a ground where the fans can really help you.
“I felt the atmosphere in the play-offs watching at home. It was bouncing. Buzzing. It’s proper football.”
And though the Championship may be a step down from life in the top flight with West Ham, Bilic said: “My passion for football does not come and go.
“It doesn’t depend on the level you are working at. This is my job and I will do my best. I’m going to be me.”
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