Sunday 18 February 2018

Martinez frustrated as Rondon steals the points for West Brom

Everton 0-1 West Brom

Everton manager Roberto Martinez during match at Goodison Park. Photo: PA
Everton manager Roberto Martinez during match at Goodison Park. Photo: PA
West Brom manager Tony Pulis shouts instructions from the touch line. Photo: Reuters
West Brom's Sandro and Ben Foster celebrate at the end of the match. photo: Reuters

Carl Markham

West Brom head coach Tony Pulis was typically unapologetic after his side's narrow win against the run of play at Everton.

The home side had 76 per cent of possession and 34 shots, but the decisive statistic belonged to the Baggies thanks to Salomon Rondon's 15th-minute close-range goal from their only shot on target.

It was the sort of gritty performance from which Pulis has made a career, but despite criticism about time-wasting and his team's defensive attitude the West Brom boss was unmoved.

"The Premier League is not a level playing field," he said as his side moved to 32 points, eight points clear of the bottom three.

"There are clubs with budgets, facilities better than yours and you have to find a way with winning. That is what I do.

An indication of Everton's dominance - and at times desperation - was that over the course of 90 minutes, every outfield Everton player, apart from their final, late substitute Leon Osman, attempted a shot.

The Baggies, lining up with four central defenders across the back, remained unmoved and unbowed, just like their manager.

"Too many people worry about what too many other people say," Pulis continued.

"I am not worrying about them. You have got to wash your mind away from it and stay focused and get the points.

"I have done this a long time. We need 40 points.

"We were resilient. We defended for our lives, which we had to.

"Everton had a free week. They have got a top-five squad and to come here and get a result is absolutely fantastic, considering we played Peterborough for 120 minutes with penalties (on Wednesday in the FA Cup)."

After back-to-back 3-0 league wins, Everton appeared to have turned a corner but the spotlight was put back on manager Roberto Martinez after a sixth home defeat of the season.

The Toffees now have the worst home defensive record in Europe's top five leagues and their manager could not offer much in the way of an excuse.

"It is the truth. We have conceded too many goals," Martinez said. "Today that little bit of luck was not in our favour but we have to change that.

"The home form is where we were looking forward to get a fortress, to get good results even when you are not playing well, and it hasn't been the case.

"We have been so strong away from home - that is where you get tested. We have got the best away record we have had for a long time."

Martinez did not think the performance itself was especially bad, however.

"There is that element that sometimes a dominant performance doesn't give you a good result and that was the story," he said.

"We knew exactly what we were going to face. West Brom were organised, they were going to take 30 seconds over every dead-ball.

"They had one shot on target and we had over 30 attempts and hit the post and the crossbar. I thought the dominance deserved a better result."

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