Pascal Gross says that the prospect of playing in Europe for the first time in their careers is a big incentive for a lot of the squad.
Albion sit seventh, which would secure a place in the Europa Conference League, with five games to go. They will look to bounce back from Monday’s defeat to Everton at the Emirates against second-placed Arsenal on Sunday.
The club have never played in Europe before and the same goes for the vast majority of the squad, including the experienced Gross, who signed a new contract last month and has made 187 Premier League appearances for Albion, scoring 25 goals and contributing 33 assists.
“It is a massive dream and ambition for a lot of us to play in a European competition,” said Pascal. “So we need to be fully focussed on the last five games starting on Sunday, take them one at a time, prepare and recover properly and do our best.”
Gross said the squad took collective responsibility for Monday’s 5-1 defeat to Everton and added that they didn’t need head coach Roberto De Zerbi to remind them that they didn’t reach the high standards they have attained for much of the season.
“We were really poor, and we know that," he said. "We were honest with ourselves afterwards, that we had to take responsibility for a really bad game. We were second best all over the pitch and it shouldn’t have happened but we can’t change anything now – all we can do is look forward and prepare for the next game against Arsenal.
“The coach is honest with us when we are doing well and not doing so well. When we don’t do the basics he tells us the truth. We know we need to do better if we are to reach our target this season and we have five games to do it.”