The Baggies boss referenced his squad’s mindset in response to their performance of two very different halves in Saturday’s curtain-raiser at Middlesbrough, which finished 1-1 after a debut equalizer by John Swift.
Bruce flagged Albion’s ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character and admitted that such a mentality can be tough to change following a difficult Premier League relegation and underwhelming Championship campaign,
“We didn’t really recover after the goal,” said the boss. “We started brightly enough but didn’t react in a way I was hoping we would. The second half was much more like it, much better.
“I said to them we have to change the mentality, I know it’s hard, they’ve had a difficult couple of years and the nucleus of the squad is still here, but until we change that mentality and play like we did in the second – then we’ve got an outstanding chance.
“But the hard part is changing that mentality. Slowly I’m sure we’ll get there but it’s taken a lot to shake off.”
Bruce has added Jayson Molumby, Swift, Jed Wallace and Okay Yukuslu to his ranks so far this summer. Swift and Wallace combined to lethal effect at Middlesbrough, but the boss said the nucleus of his squad remain in place and have ‘taken a kicking’ in their time at The Hawthorns.
“It’s been like it, unfortunately, since I walked through the door in February, that little bit of Jekyll and Hyde,” he added. “I can go to performances last year when we beat Fulham and Bournemouth, or we go to Luton in particular
“Then I can pick two or three where we’re night and day. We have to change that mentality, that’s the hard part. A lot of them have taken a kicking in the Premier League and it didn’t go as well as we’d have liked in this division.
“We’ve got to try to change it and if we do then I’m sure we’ll be OK.”
Bruce is still trying to further add to his ranks, with the possibility of loan arrivals from top flight clubs.
“I keep saying to them my job is to knock the door down constantly, we can never be happy as managers, once you’re happy you get into that apathy,” he said of more additions. “We’ve got to improve, I know we’ve improved with Dike, Okay and the two Swift and Wallace, that’s improved us. If we can do a couple more then I’ll try my utmost.”