Tuesday 22 May 2018

No finger pointing from West Brom boss Tony Pulis after Watford defeat

Saido Berahino had two penalties saved by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes
Saido Berahino had two penalties saved by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes

A turbulent season for Saido Berahino slumped to another low on Saturday with two penalty misses but West Brom boss Tony Pulis did not blame the striker for the home defeat to Watford.

The 22-year-old striker saw both his spot-kicks saved by the brilliant Heurelho Gomes, whose heroics ensured that Ben Watson's first-half goal halted a six-game run without a win for the Hornets in the Barclays Premier League.

Berahino, who in August had a written transfer request turned down by the club amid several rejected offers for him from Tottenham and has struggled for fitness and form since, saw his first penalty in the 67th minute beaten away by Gomes diving to his right.

With three minutes remaining, the Brazilian goalkeeper repeated the feat, this time getting down to his left-hand side to divert Berahino's goal-bound effort away from the bottom corner of the net.

Asked if Berahino was feeling down after the game, Pulis said: "I would say that's an understatement. He's really disappointed.

"It's a cruel game at times, but it happens. Good strikers miss penalties. That's football. He's a good player.

"Since I've been here he's always been the penalty taker, and he's always been competent as well.

"He wanted to take the second one. I think if he lacked any confidence he'd have walked away from it. You can't have a go at him as the keeper has made a fantastic save for the second one. It was a well-struck penalty and it was a fantastic save."

Berahino was not the only West Brom player to find Gomes in fantastic form.

The 35-year-old enjoyed a storming afternoon, producing smart saves to twice thwart Stephane Sessegnon in the first half and acrobatically deny Gareth McAluley shortly after half-time.

Pulis said: "Like I said, it can be a cruel game at times.

"I thought we played well. We've had something like 40-odd crosses, 16 efforts on goal and two penalties and not got anything from the game. How that's happened I just don't know.

"But that's the way it goes sometimes, it just wasn't our day in front of goal. Obviously the lads are really disappointed, some of them put in really good performances."

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores also had praise for his goalkeeper.

"We are happy we didn't concede a lot of chances, just the two penalties, and when he had to Heurelho made the saves. He is important for us," said the Spaniard.

"I think a clean sheet is always important for the team. I'm not sure exactly how we conceded two penalties but he (Gomes) had to save them, this is normal.

"We are really happy for the performance of Heurelho because he is one of the main players for us this season."

Press Association

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