West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has again rounded on the Premier League ahead of the Baggies’ crucial derby at Aston Villa.
Albion are second bottom and nine points from safety ahead of Sunday’s trip to Villa Park after Thursday’s 3-0 defeat at Leicester.
Allardyce hit out at the Premier League’s scheduling, with Villa having had 24 hours more recovery time than the Baggies after they lost 2-1 to Manchester City on Wednesday.
The boss had previously been critical as he wanted to play Villa last weekend and was also upset when Albion’s game against Everton last month was rescheduled at short notice.
“There are small margins in this game and the fact we can’t recover as much as Aston Villa has massively disadvantaged us,” said Allardyce.
“People can say we are making excuses before we start but it’s a fact. They didn’t need to give us this game (Leicester) on this day. If you did then you certainly didn’t need to give us the next game on Sunday.
“Villa played on Wednesday and Leicester are playing next Monday. Why us? We got the same treatment, extremely poorly, a few weeks ago when we played Fulham and Newcastle.
“They were going to be two of the biggest games we could face and then they go ‘oh, by the way, you’re playing Everton on Thursday night’.
“We wanted to play Villa last Saturday or Sunday, they wanted to play us and got blankly refused. Don’t know why. We don’t have another game after Sunday until next Monday against Wolves. Why? We haven’t been treated fairly at all.”
After Thursday’s defeat at the King Power Stadium, Allardyce targeted five wins from Albion’s final six games to stay in the Premier League.
Villa sit in mid-table with their European hopes fading and remain without injured skipper Jack Grealish but Allardyce, missing the injured Branislav Ivanovic, expects a typical derby.
“It’s Aston Villa against West Brom. It’s a head-to-head West Midlands derby, everyone will be up for it,” he said.
“We have to win it but we won’t win it unless we defend correctly. It won’t be anything but a ferocious football match.
“It’s about my players getting back to the level of performance of the last 10 matches. That came about by us having one of the best defensive records in the league.
“We have to produce the same football we produced against Southampton and Chelsea. It was always going to be difficult to continue winning.”