Di Matteo dreaming of safety
West Brom head coach Roberto Di Matteo has said keeping his team in the Premier League would be the greatest achievement of his career.
Di Matteo wants improvement
Di Matteo, who won 34 caps for Italy and scored the quickest ever cup final goal at the old Wembley stadium, believes maintaining Premier League status this season would eclipse those honours.
"It would be in top spot,'' he said. "I would love to stay in the Premier League - it would be an absolute gift for everybody involved.''
West Brom currently lie in 14th place in the Premier League, with 22 points from 19 games at the half way point of the season. Despite this healthy position, the Baggies have lost their last three league games, a statistic that Di Matteo is not focusing upon.
"I think everybody expected us to be at the bottom, and we've never really been there,'' he said. "I look at it from that positive side because at the end of the day I think we've done well to be where we are.
"Yes, I'm disappointed that we had great opportunities at times in the last three games but we've managed to pick up other points.''
West Brom have been shown six red cards this season - two more than any other Premier League team. However, they have only accrued 27 cautions, the fourth lowest in the division. Di Matteo believes some of the players who have been dismissed this season are displaying a lack of experience, rather than anything more sinister.
"I don't think we are a violent team because of our red cards,'' he said. "They are playing in the Premier League for the first time and we are a newly promoted team."
The Italian added that while he has spoken to his squad to try and remedy the situation, once his team cross the white line, there is not much he can do to help them keep their cool.
He said: "Once a player is out there, he makes the decision, nobody else can make the decision for him.''