West Brom boss Tony Pulis has his sights firmly set on the 40-point mark
Published 05/03/2016 | 13:06
Tony Pulis will train his sights on surpassing West Brom's record Barclays Premier League total this season, but only after they have reached the 40-point mark.
The Baggies have accrued seven points from their last three league games and welcome Manchester United to The Hawthorns on Sunday hoping to extend their unbeaten home streak in the calendar year.
A victory over Louis van Gaal's side would take them to 39 points, one shy of the haul thought to guarantee safety in most campaigns, with nine more games then remaining before the season is over.
That would give Pulis' men ample time to better the 49 points Steve Clarke's side returned in the 2012-13 season - though such a total will remain at the back of the current manager's mind while survival still needs to be achieved.
"My aim always is to get to 40 points," Pulis said.
"If we can get to 40 points in the next couple of games then we'll be pushing on to see if we can get more points than the club has achieved before.
"To look above the most important target, the one that you set at the beginning of the season, I don't think is right. Let's get there first and assess it and if we can get to 40 points with quite a few games left let's see if we can get that (record total)."
West Brom's recent good form means Pulis can afford to entertain the possibility of a record-breaking season, even if he has seen his style of play questioned in some quarters during difficult spells.
United manager Van Gaal, whose own team have hit a purple patch of late, can relate to such criticism himself and Pulis accepts that all comes with the territory.
"I think you're going to get criticism whichever way you cook it today," he added.
"It's style of football, not scoring goals, conceding goals - if you're not winning enough games then people are going to find a way for why you're not doing it and criticise that reason. You have to accept that.
"There's always a group of supporters within every club that won't be happy with what's going on unless you're top of the league or doing something very, very special. They will always be there ready to have a little gripe if they feel right to do it.
"You have to accept that. You'll get no complaints from me."
Pulis' squad for Sunday will not include former United defender Jonny Evans, who is injured along with Chris Brunt, Callum McManaman and James Morrison.