Roberto Di Matteo has led West Bromwich Albion to the Premier League but, insists the Baggies boss, he is still a rookie as he looks ahead to life in the top flight in what will be only his second season at the Hawthorns and only his third as a Manager.

"I'm still a baby in management terms," said the former Lazio, Chelsea and Italy midfielder, who joined Albion last summer after taking Milton Keynes Dons to the Coca-Cola League 2 Play-Offs in his managerial debut season last term. "I've been trying to learn to walk," he added, "and next season I will try and learn to run."

Di Matteo deflects praise of his rapid progress in the hard-nosed world of management. "I've been fortunate to be able to work with good players," said the 39-year-old boss. "Last year at Milton Keynes they were very, very good to me, they gave me everything, and this year has been the same.

"The players here have responded really well. It's the level of effort and work they've put in, on the training ground as well as in matches, that has resulted in promotion."

West Brom have not only clinched promotion but done so in some style, equalling the club's record haul of 89 points at Championship level and with two games remaining.

Now 10 matches unbeaten after on Saturday totally outclassing Middlesbrough - like themselves relegated from the Premier League last season - in a 2-0 victory whose scoreline failed to illustrate the quality gap between the two teams, Albion will surely pass the 90 points mark in their final two fixtures to set them up for what supporters are hoping will be a longer than usual stay in the top flight.

West Brom are the archetypal 'yo-yo' club, having in the last nine years achieved promotion on four occasions but suffered relegation three times.

Can they at last establish themselves as a Premier League club? "That's the million dollar question," admitted Di Matteo. "We have a good group of players, but we will certainly have to strengthen because the Premier League is very difficult with so many quality players in so many quality teams."

Understandably at this stage, particularly at a club which in the past has refused to go overboard with spending following promotion, Di Matteo is tight-lipped about transfer targets or indeed the areas of his team which he would like to bolster.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is top of my list along with Lionel Messi," the Manager joked before revealing: "I've not had a conversation about this yet with the Chairman, but every club has to look within themselves to see what resources they have to work with. What I would like to do is keep the core of the group of players we have here and build and strengthen around them."

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