It may just be coincidence – but since Jonas Olsson’s debut at the heart of West Bromwich Albion’s defence their turn in fortunes has been dramatic.
The Baggies have mustered three wins from four matches, having picked up just one point from nine in their opening games.
What began as a shaky start has now become their best opening to a Premier League campaign and since Olsson’s inclusion Albion have registered back-to-back wins for the first time in 52 games, as well as successive clean sheets.
“I don’t know if I am a lucky charm,” he said. “I watched the first three games when I wasn’t here and I thought the team did well.
“In some ways they played better than we have recently. But it’s just about believing in what you are doing and sticking to your philosophy.
“If you can do that, you are going to put points on the board. It’s also how you define playing well.
“In defence we played very solidly against Fulham and we never felt like we were going to concede. It was just solid. But we made some errors in possession; I made some bad passes in the first half.
“If you make a long pass and lose it on the sideline then the world doesn’t end – but if you lose the ball in the middle of the pitch, like we did at times on Saturday, then you are going to have problems.
“Sometimes it’s about losing the ball in better places, I guess.”
Few Baggies supporters could have believed their side would settled into life in the top flight this easily, or how manager Tony Mowbray’s new signings have made the supposed step-up quality. The Eredivisie is obviously of a better standard than many people think.
Olsson is among those who have impressed the most and while Scott Carson, Gianni Zuiverloon and Ryan Donk are attracting the bulk of the headlines, the Swede’s role in Albion’s encouragingly athletic defensive unit should not be overlooked.
He said: “It becomes easier as you get to know the players; what type of players they are, what skills they have and where they want the ball.
“Coming to a new club the first few games are always nerve-wracking – but the results we have had recently have really helped me settle down.
“It’s a very nice team and a good situation at the moment. As a newcomer you want to relieve the pressure and get some points on the board.
“Entering the international break with a good feeling around the club makes it so much easier to go to training, especially with a few recent wins behind us. It is also important to have that feeling for when we go to Manchester United. That game will be a dream for me.
“That’s what the Premier League is all about and as I supported them when I was younger it will mean a lot to me. I have been waiting for it.”
Mowbray is equally confident that his team’s timely run will provide the confidence they need to go to Old Trafford.
“The victories have earned us a bit more respect from the opposition,” he said.
“Saturday’s result was important, it keeps the momentum going and gives the team the confidence and belief that they can compete in the league; we shouldn’t fear whoever we play.
“It is a great opportunity, a great challenge for us. It is a great to this group of players that we can go there and compete against some of the best players in the world.”