'We are going to be playing catch up for some time' - West Brom manager Roy Hodgson bemoans his side's slow start to the season

The former Liverpool boss has seen his team fall into the bottom three despite recent results and blames the early losses suffered at the beginning of the campaign

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson admits his side are suffering from their slow start to the season and are playing catch-up with the rest of the field, but insists his players are strong enough for the challenge.

Losses to Manchester United, Chelsea and Stoke have impeded the Baggies early progress and they remain in the bottom three, despite picking up four points in their last three games.

However, Hodgson believes it is a momentary setback and that his team possess the quality to bounce back and stay clear of relegation.  

The former Liverpool boss told reporters: "The first three games are the real bugbear for us because we got no points.

"We are going to be playing catch-up for a considerable period of time.

"It will take a while to get back into a position in the table we would be more comfortable with.

"If we had taken three points from the first three games and were sitting on seven now, I'm sure the confidence would be higher and people would be feeling less anxious when they go out to play.

"This is part of being a member of a Premier League team. It's a lot of pressure at all times and that pressure hardly ever leaves you because there is always something to play for.

"In the last three games, two of them away from home, we've taken four points which is a little bit more acceptable.

"Those four points are not good enough to claw back the loss of the nine points in the first three games.

"But I'm quite confident if the team can continue working hard, they won't let myself or the club down and we will get the necessary points."

West Brom managed to carry quite a force behind them in the closing games of last season, grabbing 20 points in just 12 games, but Hodgson concedes the Baggies have failed to carry such form over to the current campaign.

Hodgson added: "We haven't picked up the momentum of last season, or hit the rhythm I would like.

"But I am still seeing signs that we are relatively solid and I believe the solidity of the team and the quality of the players we have will see us through in the end.

"I am much more confident this year that the depth and quality of our squad has been improved.

"I'd like to think we are every bit as good, if not better regarding the first eleven because the players who have come into the team are as good, if not better than the ones playing last season."

West Brom take on Sunderland this weekend, with Steve Bruce’s outfit still hurting from their loss against Norwich City on Monday evening.