Anichebe hopes for turning point
Published 12/02/2014 | 15:47
West Brom super-sub Victor Anichebe is hoping his latest game-saving strike proves to be a turning point in the Baggies' season.
For the second successive game at The Hawthorns, Anichebe came off the bench to net an equaliser and earn Albion a draw against one of the Barclays Premier League's high-fliers.
Earlier this month Anichebe took just three minutes to get off the mark following his introduction against Liverpool.
Although it took the Nigerian 14 minutes to find the net on Tuesday against Chelsea, his 87th-minute header could prove the spark Albion need under new head coach Pepe Mel.
It is five games without a win since the Spaniard took over, but the point gained from the clash with leaders Chelsea undeniably came on the back of West Brom's best performance following his arrival.
It was enough to lift Albion out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
"Even though I was unhappy I wasn't playing, I was pleased for the boys because they really did play well," said Anichebe, speaking to reporters.
"I thought we were unlucky to go in at half-time 1-0 down. Everyone dug in and we showed what a good team we are.
"We pressed Chelsea all game, and we attacked them too. We took the game to them.
"A draw is a good result, but we could have nicked it. It is a big moment in the season.
"We just need to roll our sleeves up and go into every game like it's a cup final."
The acid test of Mel's reign comes the weekend after next as Albion have another home encounter, this time against bottom-of-the-table Fulham.
After raising their game to take points off Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea from the three home matches so far under Mel, the clash with Fulham is undoubtedly the most crucial he will have faced to date.
"The players need a win, and me too," said Mel.
"But for us the draw against Chelsea is a good one because they are a big team, and after the last match (a 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday) which was very, very bad.
"We now need to work and to focus, because the next match is very important."
Mel returns to Spain on Thursday with his squad for a six-day warm-weather training camp in Jerez prior to taking on the Cottagers and then Manchester United on March 8, also at home.
Suggested to Mel there was extra pressure on his shoulders with the next two matches at The Hawthorns, he replied: "Yes, but if we play as we did in the second half (against Chelsea) then we will have no problems to win the games."
In Jerez, Mel will assess a leg muscle injury to Claudio Yacob after the midfielder limped off in the 63rd minute.