Friday 28 July 2017

Baggies boss Pulis wants no let-up from his side after latest win

Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal against Bournemouth
Gareth McAuley celebrates his goal against Bournemouth

Tony Pulis does not want West Brom to get complacent after reaching the 40-point mark in the Premier League.

The Baggies boss has steered his side to the tally widely regarded as the requirement for survival well ahead of schedule. West Brom did not hit that target until the start of April last season.

But Pulis' team are not in a relegation battle this time round. Instead, they continue to exceed all expectations and remain surprise contenders for European football after beating Bournemouth 2-1 at The Hawthorns.

Albion are flying high in eighth place in the table and seventh spot may bring qualification for next season's Europa League - a position currently occupied by Everton, who are four points ahead of Pulis' side.

The Welshman would not be drawn on talk of Europe, but demanded his players maintain the high standards they have set this campaign, although he would like his team to be more ruthless.

"We've got 40 points so I think we'll be okay," Pulis joked. "I don't think we'll have to be looking over our shoulder.

"But I want a performance now every week and to make sure we play football. We played it through the pitch again today with purpose - not backwards or square or sideways. But what we do need to do is be more clinical in the final third.

"We scored two good goals and responded well to going behind early, but the disappointing thing is, and I know they had a couple of late chances and Ben (Foster) has had to make a couple of good saves, the game should have been out of their reach.

"We should have scored a third goal during that time when we were on top."

Bournemouth took a fifth-minute lead through Josh King's penalty, but goals from defenders Craig Dawson and Gareth McAuley turned the game on its head before half-time.

James Morrison, Jonny Evans and Nacer Chadli, whose header was ruled out for offside, all had opportunities either side of half-time to extend West Brom's lead and they would have been made to pay had Foster not produced a couple of fine saves in injury time to deny Lys Mousset and then Tyrone Mings.

Mings was involved in a nasty-looking clash of heads with Dawson at the start of the second half which meant the Baggies defender was unable to continue. However, Pulis allayed any worries about his well being.

"He's got absolutely slaughtered in the dressing room, it's a little bump on the side of his head," he said.

Bournemouth remain without a Premier League win in 2017 and have now lost their last four games as they continue to be pulled closer to the relegation places.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe thought his team were unfortunate, saying: "I felt we did enough to get a point during the course of the game. I'm disappointed we haven't come away with something to show for our efforts.

"We dominated possession, although perhaps we didn't do enough with it. West Brom are a tough side to break down, especially when they are in front. They drop deep and limit the space and they are a threat on the counter attack.

"Once we get the lead obviously we are looking to keep it for a lot longer than we did. If we'd done that then perhaps the game would have goner much more the way we wanted it to."

Press Association

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport