You won’t find many people who will give West Bromwich Albion a prayer of avoiding relegation following the defeat at Manchester City on Sunday.
Albion are nine points from safety and realistically have to win all five remaining games to have a slight chance.
Considering Albion have not tasted success in their last 13 games, putting a sequence together of five consecutive victories would seem to be beyond Albion, especially as one of their remaining fixtures is against title-chasing Liverpool at The Hawthorns. It may be mathematics that is keeping Albion in the top flight but manager Tony Mowbray said there was no need for them to throw in the towel.
He was encouraged by his side’s performance at Eastlands even if the reoccurring theme of missed chances and poor defending cost them once more, and has urged his side to retain that level for the remainder of the season.
He said: “If we win all five and get to 40 points, is 40 points going to be enough?
“But why would we give in when we don’t need to? Did we look like a disheartened team today? Did the players look down? I don’t think they did.
“I think we looked a very high-spirited team, a team who showed a lot of drive, purpose and focus. That’s on the back of not winning for ten league matches - and I think that’s great credit to the players.
“When you looked at the two teams today, I was more than happy we could compete against a team full of top, top international players.
“We could have got something out of the game but ultimately we weren’t good enough. We missed chances and lost four goals.
“It’s about trying to win a game which is why, if you love the game, you will have seen a great game of football today. There were two attack-minded teams out there and I think that’s what English football should be all about. But there has got to be winners and losers in this game.
“We’ve got five games to go and we will go and try to be as positive as we can to try to win them.”
Goalkeeper Scott Carson has endured a tumultuous season. The former Liverpool and Aston Villa keeper has been kept busy and has produced some stunning saves. However, there have also been a few basic errors that have been ruthlessly punished, although Mowbray had sympathy with his number one over City’s controversial second goal.
Carson was incensed that a blatant foul on him by Felipe Caicedo went unpunished and allowed Nedum Onuoha to head home. The England keeper remonstrated strongly to referee Mike Jones and had to be hauled away by team-mate Paul Robinson after being booked.
Mowbray was also full of praise for the excellent travelling support. Despite their side winning, it was the City fans who were voicing their dissent. Mowbray added: “Our supporters have had a tough season but they still turn out in numbers and still fill The Hawthorns. We owe it to them to go and win some football matches between now and the end of the season. Great credit must go to the supporters for sticking by the team.”