Sam Allardyce acknowledges West Brom must start winning matches, starting at Burnley, with draws not enough after costly setbacks.
The Baggies are 19th in the Premier League, 12 points from safety with 14 matches to play. They have won only once since Allardyce's appointment and crucially lost at Sheffield United after having drawn at home to Fulham.
Even with impressive draws this season against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, Allardyce knows the margin for error is slimming.
"Because we have slipped up, certainly in the two big games against Fulham and Sheffield United, we are now nearly getting to 'must-win'," he said. "For me, that is a sad place to be in at this stage.
"It was a 'no-lose' in the beginning, now it's becoming nearly a 'must-win', and that's got to be one of the challenges we take up on Saturday. We have to be ruthless enough to try to get three points off Burnley."
Burnley manager Sean Dyche is prepared for a scrap against an Allardyce side.
"The Premier League is a tough job for any manager," Dyche said. "Sam is well versed in it, more than me, and he knows the challenge, the group and what he needs to do. It's getting everyone else to know that that is the tough part of managing and coaching, getting everyone else aware of what needs to be done. He's done it many times before; there's the knowledge there and they are fighting, everyone is fighting at the moment - including ourselves. And you should expect that in the Premier League, everyone wants to be in it, everyone wants to stay in it, and Sam knows that."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Burnley – Chris Wood
Burnley need to get their front men scoring more consistently if they are to pull clear of trouble. Remarkably, neither Wood nor Ashley Barnes have scored on a Saturday so far this season. Wood, whose last such strike came in July 2020, has just four goals to his name this season - two on Mondays, one on a Wednesday and one on a Sunday.
West Brom – Mbaye Diagne
A goal against Manchester United last time out got Diagne's West Brom career up and running and further improved his impressive record over the past three years. Since joining Super Lig side Kasimpasa in January 2018, the striker has been directly involved in 62 goals (56 goals, six assists) across 74 top-flight appearances in Turkey, Belgium and now England.
KEY OPTA FACTS
- Burnley have won just one of their seven Premier League meetings with West Brom (D3 L3), winning 2-1 at the Hawthorns in March 2018.
- West Brom won their previous away league game against Burnley 1-0 in August 2017. They have not won on consecutive league visits to Turf Moor since a run of three between 1953 and 1956.
- This will be the 133rd competitive meeting between Burnley and West Brom, with the Clarets losing 56 times in the process (W46 D30); only versus Wolves (66), Man United (63) and Preston North End (57) have they lost more in their history.
- West Brom have won just two of their 24 Premier League games this season (W2 D7 L15) – eight of the 10 previous sides with two or fewer wins at this stage of a Premier League campaign were eventually relegated, with West Brom in 2004-05 one of the teams to escape the bottom three (also Fulham in 2007-08).
- West Brom have conceded 55 goals in just 24 Premier League games this season, more than any other side across Europe's 'top five' leagues. Indeed, 45 of those goals conceded have arrived in open play, 13 more than any other side in the Premier League.