West Brom manager Slaven Bilic has delivered his verdict on new signing Charlie Austin and young winger Oliver Burke after the Baggies’s Carabao Cup defeat at the hands of fellow Championship side Millwall.
West Brom were given the perfect chance to right their wrongs from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Millwall in a Caraboa Cup clash with the same opposition on Tuesday night.
However, the Baggies were unable to make progress, losing 1-0 to the Lions after debutant Charlie Austin had initially put Slaven Bilic’s side ahead, before Tom Bradshaw and Aiden O’Brien to secure a second round clash with Oxford United.
Speaking to Birmingham Live after the game, Bilic discussed the performance of debutant Austin, praising him for his perfect start to life with the club before explaining the reason behind his substitution on the hour mark.
“For strikers, it’s always very good to open their account as soon as possible,” Bilic said speaking about Austin.
“The start was perfect, but he didn’t play at all in pre-season. I spoke to him before the game and I said maybe 45, maybe 60. He felt good. It was a night game, so it wasn’t hot or whatever. Sixty minutes was enough. It was the plan, it could have been dangerous to have kept him on.”
Bilic went on to praise Oliver Burke for his energy and link-up play with his teammates, although admitted that they lacked a presence in the penalty area after Austin was substituted off.
“He [Burke] was in the first 30 minutes he was very lively. He was pressing them and was good in the link up play, with Grady, with Kyle, with Charlie.
“In the second half, it was planned that when Charlie went off, for him to play as a centre forward.
“We weren’t that pleasant in the box when Charlie went off, to be fair. We were lacking a presence there. For the number of times we were there, it was too easy for them to defend.
“It’s difficult for young players when they have big transfers and he needs to score a few goals and make it easier for himself. There are bigger names and more experienced players who are coping with those situations and were are trying to help him with that. Sometimes you just need a run. All you can do is work hard and hopefully, it will happen.”