Roberto De Zerbi dedicated his first win as Albion head coach to the fans – ‘the best players on the pitch.’
The Italian saw his side thump Chelsea 4-1 to climb to seventh in the Premier League table thanks to strikes from Leandro Trossard and Pascal Gross and two own goals.
De Zerbi said, “I am very happy for the players, the club and the people who work with the team and, of course, the great fans because they were the best players on the pitch – they helped us so much.”
Albion were on the front foot from the first whistle, with Trossard scoring inside five minutes. Own goals by Trevoh Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek made it 3-0 at the break and although Kai Havertz pulled one back Gross sealed a special afternoon with a fourth in stoppage time as Albion beat Chelsea in the Premier League for the first time.
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“The first 20-25 minutes we were fantastic, in how we played with and without the ball. We played with an intensity I liked,” added De Zerbi.
“We got into so many one to ones, where [Kaoru] Mitoma and [Solly] March did well. Trossard was fantastic, so was [Adam] Lallana – I thought they were all outstanding.”
De Zerbi says his celebrations will be low key and was critical of himself for Chelsea’s goal.
I won’t be celebrating too much, because next Saturday is another game and I made a mistake because they made a tactical change and I didn’t adapt," he added.
“But 4-1 against Chelsea is still an amazing result and I hope everyone enjoys it. I am very happy for myself and my staff because we have been through eight really tough months. I had a great team that [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin decided to take away from me. I found another team and I am thankful to have found these players and this club’.”