Mowbray keeps faith in ‘attractive’ Albion


Staff writer

Manager Tony Mowbray has urged his West Bromwich Albion players to keep the faith as they bid to end a poor sequence of results.

Albion have picked up just one point from their last seven Premier League games and are rooted to the foot of the table.

They suffered another disappointing defeat to fellow Premier League new boys Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday but Mowbray said he still believes his side’s fortunes will turn soon.

Unlike the Potters, Albion have attempted to play a more attractive brand of football in the top flight but while Stoke’s more physical approach has produced results, Albion have struggled to turn performances into victories.

However, Mowbray said his side must keep believing in their football philosophy and hope for their rewards.

“I thought we were pretty comfortable at Stoke for a huge majority of the game,” Mowbray said.

“I think it was one of those games which looked like it would finish 0-0 and yet we could have won it 1-0 instead of losing it 1-0. I feel that is just the way things are falling for us at the moment.

“It was a poor game, a nothing game. I thought we stuck to our guns fine and defended well enough. They are very hard to play against because they get a lot of men behind the ball, but the one or two chances that came our way we weren’t clinical enough to take them. I think we could have nicked it and that has added to the disappointment and frustration. We had battled very hard and stood up to the physical challenge, but when you lose 1-0, people are only interested in the result, and you have to take it on the chin.

“It is very disappointing but I still believe long term that we can prevail playing the way we play.

“You have to win and then the style of football and the way you play speaks for itself. When you lose you have no defence.

“You have to keep believing in what you do and keep going, and I truly believe it will turn for us. Hopefully, football will be a winner.”

One aspect of Saturday’s performance that did please Mowbray was the emerging partnership between centre-backs Jonas Olsson and Abdoulaye Meite. The pair came under prolonged pressure from Stoke’s aerial bombardment and kept giant striker Mamady Sidibe quiet until six minutes from the end when the Mali forward was able to head home the winner.

Now Mowbray is hoping that defensive resolve will be the catalyst to more positive results, starting this Saturday with a visit to Wigan Athletic.

“The positive I’ll take out of Saturday is that we were resolute,” said Mowbray.

“I think when you go into those types of games you approach them with a different kind of mind-set because you know they are coming. They are a pretty predictable team but they are good at it. They have beaten bigger and more illustrious teams than us, like Aston Villa, Arsenal and Tottenham. It was never going to be easy and I felt for long spells we were comfortable until they scored a very good goal. We didn’t get rolled over physically, although I never had any fears that we would.

“Hopefully, the combination of Meite and Olsson will continue to strengthen and grow now, if we can keep them both fit. I thought they stood up to the test very well on Saturday.

“Hopefully, that will be the building blocks for a more successful campaign than we’re having at the moment.”