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Saturday 10 December 2016

West Brom boss Tony Pulis wants to banish relegation fears forever

Published 28/10/2016 | 09:51

West Brom manager Tony Pulis believes the club should not worry about relegation anymore
West Brom manager Tony Pulis believes the club should not worry about relegation anymore

West Brom boss Tony Pulis signed a one-year contract extension on Friday and insisted the Baggies must banish relegation fears forever.

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The 58-year-old has committed his future to The Hawthorns until 2018 as his previous deal was due to expire in the summer.

Pulis has been at the club since January 2015 and Albion's new Chinese owners, led by businessman Guochuan Lai, have kept faith in the former Stoke manager.

The Baggies were sold by former owner Jeremy Peace to Chinese investment group Yunyi Guokai Sports Development Limited in August and Pulis admits only surviving in the Premier League is now not good enough.

Pulis said: "The football club has to find a way of getting into that top 10.

"It has to get on the track where we're giving the supporters the chance to see the club grow and grow a nd within a framework and a structure that isn't ridiculous where there's hundreds of millions of pounds being spent.

"Even if it's just less than £100million, there's lots of clubs doing that and they're not successful.

"So it's important you do it in a proper way and the thing that excites me more than anything is the fact there are some fantastic young players here as well.

"We can get better, it has to get better. I'm hoping and praying we get enough points until the window and then we can improve. I'm not looking to bring lots and lots of players in, what we need to do is bring in quality."

Pulis replaced Alan Irvine in January 2015 with Albion 17th and guided the Baggies to Premier League safety before last season's 14th placed finish.

Under him the club have twice broken their transfer record, signing Salomon Rondon for £12million last year and Nacer Chadli for £13million in August.

Pulis said: I've spoken to the chairman John Williams and the new owners at length over the last couple of weeks and the club wants to push forward in a structured way.

"They want it to be organised in a way where they're not going to throw hundreds of millions of pounds at it - they want to do it step by step in a controlled manner.

"I think the fact they want to do it that way is something I like because I like staying at clubs and building clubs."

Williams, who was appointed as part of the takeover, added: "Tony has huge experience and proven know-how in one of the most demanding leagues in world football.

"From the outset, the takeover announcement made it clear that this new era would work to progress Albion to an established top 10 club without jeopardising continuity on and off the field."

The Baggies host Manchester City on Saturday with doubts over key men, who Pulis refused to name, and Claudio Yacob is banned although Jonny Evans will return from suspension.

Saido Berahino is unlikely to feature as he continues to regain fitness after being ruled overweight.

City have not won in their last six games, the worst run of manager Pep Guardiola's career, after Wednesday's 1-0 EFL Cup defeat to Manchester United.

"I'm pleased it's not Barcelona coming," Pulis said. "I watched Man City on Wednesday and thought they played really well.

"They made nine changes and I thought they played really well, they just fell off in the second half.

"I think he'll be bringing his first team to The Hawthorns on Saturday to make it more compelling and a more difficult game for us. It will be a game we should embrace and look forward to."

Press Association

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