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Bilic plays down title hopes despite West Brom going six points clear

West Brom head coach Slaven Bilic played down his side’s Sky Bet Championship title hopes after their 2-1 win at Reading extended their lead at the top of the table to six points.

Albion went behind in the 11th minute when defender Kyle Bartley handled in the area and George Puscas slotted home the penalty.

Matheus Pereira equalised midway through the first half as Albion dominated possession and Bartley atoned for his earlier error by heading in what turned out to be the winner four minutes into the second period.

Albion’s third successive victory gives them a six-point lead at the top of the second tier but Bilic was playing down their achievements.

“To be fair, the key is not to talk about this,” Bilic said. “About the six points or a gap or this or that.

“If it was just two games to go, then definitely. But there is still a long way to go.

“So this is nothing, no talk of a gap or whatever. That is the only way to do it.

“Reading have a good team with good players but, to be fair, we limited them, especially the last 20 minutes when they were risking more.

“It wasn’t as if it was like the Alamo. We limited them to a few situations and, apart from those, we kept them away from our goal.

“The only negativity is that, after our second goal, we should have put this game to bed. We had enough chances but we were a bit casual or sloppy.

“We wanted to score, we weren’t trying to be over clever and walking the ball into the goal. It’s just that some of our shots were not good and, with some, we were extremely unlucky.

“And some of the shots, Reading blocked them really well. But, still, it was a good performance from us.”

Mid-table Reading are now without a league win in seven outings.

“I thought that the team gave me everything that they could,” said Reading manager Mark Bowen.

“I’ve no complaints in terms of the effort that we’ve put in and the performance. My only thing was that the two goals we conceded were possibly avoidable, especially the second one.

“It’s gone through two or three phases before it’s ended up in the back of our net. We should have addressed it better from the set-piece, from the corner, but we didn’t do that. That’s my only real disappointment. The goals were really avoidable.

“Once their second goal went in, we made positive changes and took the game to them going forward. “Slaven said to me that they were the ones crying for the final whistle at the end.

“I really thought that we deserved something out of the game but sometimes you don’t get everything you deserve.”