West Brom defender Paul Robinson has admitted the club’s players "lost a bit of respect for each other" earlier in the season.
The team are preparing for this weekend's FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium and defender Robinson is full of praise for the way former Boro captain and current Baggies manager Tony Mowbray has united the dressing room.
Albion were relegated from the Barclays Premiership last season and decided to dispense with Bryan Robson as manager two months into the current campaign after an indifferent start.
There were rumours of disharmony among the players but that rocky period has been overcome with Albion now challenging strongly for an automatic return to the top flight.
Robinson: "The lads didn’t know much about the gaffer when he first came here but his leadership qualities have come through. He has definitely brought us together as a group. Maybe we weren’t like that when Bryan Robson left. We sort of separated a bit as a group and lost a bit of respect for each other.
"As a team we didn’t connect after that because a new manager comes in with different ideas. It takes time to get on board the way he wants you to play and the things he wants you to do.
"But you’ve got to be professional and get on with it. You have to be fully focused all the time and we haven’t got any lads who think ‘I’m not interested’.
"We have lifted confidence now and we have got a group of young lads who I feel can go on and be top players at this club."
Robinson believes Albion can go to Teesside without having to worry about their priority of promotion.
He said: "There is no pressure on you. The league is a lot more tense and there is a lot more at stake.
"We can go there and show Middlesbrough the way we have been playing in recent weeks, give them a good game and not be scared of what they are and who they are.
"This is a big test because we want to be playing against teams like this week in and week out in the Premiership."
Mowbray made more than 300 league appearances in 12 years at Boro and believes chairman Steve Gibson deserves enormous credit for dragging the club out of administration in the mid-1980s.
"Steve has to be given a lot of credit for the visionary process he’s brought and for where they are today - a UEFA Cup final last year plus FA Cup and League Cup finals over the last decade.
"In 1986 the club was a million miles away from any cup final. You have to give a lot of credit to people who, over the last 20 years, have put the club where it is today."