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Italian boss refuses to get carried away with fine early season form

West Bromwich manager Roberto Di Matteo has highlighted the importance of doing well in Saturday's Midlands derby against Aston Villa.

With the Baggies currently above local rivals Villa, Birmingham City and Wolves in the Premier League table, the game represents a chance for the club to further cement their bragging rights.

Di Matteo recognises that getting points on the board is important, but a result against their nearest adversaries is crucial for the fans.

"It's going to be a game where we know it's important for us to gain some points and also for the reputation of the club. It's going to be very important for the supporters," the Italian told Absolute Radio.

"I'm expecting them to get a few more players back, senior players back on Saturday, and they're going to have the home advantage, so it's going to be a tough game for us. It's going to be a challenging game for us, but I don't think we have anything to lose, we can go into this game with confidence and try our best."

Indeed, Di Matteo is hopeful that his side's fine start to the season will give them belief against Villa. The Baggies are currently in ninth place in the Premier League table, having garnered 22 points from 16 games.

“It’s only at the moment, at this stage of the season, we’re just happy with the points that we have.  That doesn’t really say too much about it, but we’re coming from a good couple of weeks and hopefully we can continue this form into Saturday’s game,” he said.

However, the Italian remained prudent about the club's long-term ambition, stating that a season of consolidation in the Premier League is the most important achievement.

“To be honest, first of all I don’t look at the table at all.  Secondly, our primary target is to remain in the Barclays Premier League. Our aim was to get rid of this yoyo reputation that this club has, that’s our aim,” he said.

“We believe that we can have a successful season, that’s our belief and that’s how we have to keep believing, and stay positive even if we have sometimes a bad result, we need to keep that into perspective.

"It’s a long season where you can have some ups and you can have some downs, and you have to stay as balanced as you can and be objective about results when they go well and when they go bad.”

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