WEST BROM striker Shane Long insists the team have nothing to fear when they continue the daunting start to their Premier League campaign at Chelsea this evening.
Albion could hardly have asked for a tougher way to begin the season, kicking off against champions Manchester United and then following it up with a trip to Stamford Bridge, where they lost 6-0 on the opening day of last term.
But Long, who joined Albion from Reading last week, is convinced Roy Hodgson's side can head to London in a positive mood. They may have lost 2-1 to United, after Long's first goal for the club had put them on level terms, but they were far from outclassed and that has given Long confidence for the trip to Chelsea. The Republic of Ireland international said: “Obviously, it is two tough games to start the season. “But we showed against Manchester United that we can put it up to the best teams in the league. “It is tough if we come out of these two games with zero points and be at the bottom of the table.
“But you know that you have played the best two teams in the league and everything is downhill from there on. “Personally, I am looking forward to playing against Chelsea. “Hopefully we can capitalise on the good performance we put in against Manchester United and take it into Stamford Bridge. “I think you have to go in wherever you are playing believing that you can get three points. “Let's hope we can get a result at Chelsea and kick on from there. “Obviously, it will be their first home game of the season and they will be well up for it. “But if we put in a performance like we did against United then we can get a result.”
As if tackling Chelsea's legion of star players was not bad enough, Albion will face an added problem at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will have inside knowledge on the Albion camp as the club's former manager, Roberto Di Matteo, is now the number two with the west London club. Albion right-back Steven Reid admits that does give their opponents something of an advantage. Reid said: “I'm sure Roberto Di Matteo will know our lads inside out and he will know what we can do. “I'm a little bit surprised he's there because he's been a number one for a few years with us and MK Dons before that, and now obviously he's taken more of a back seat at Chelsea. “But it's a great move for him and I'm sure he's enjoying it.
“He did well for us but obviously he's at Chelsea now and I'm sure he'll do well there as well.” While not underestimating the size of the task Albion face, Reid – whose unlucky own goal handed United their win – shares Long's optimism that the team should take on Chelsea in a positive frame of mind. He added: “We believe we can get a result – we showed that against Manchester United. “The positive we take is that if we play like that every week we'll be fine. I think we will be better prepared this time.”