Tony Mowbray was forced home from training ill yesterday – whether it was something he’d eaten or West Bromwich Albion’s predicament which made him feel queasy was not established.
The Baggies players are putting a brave face on the prospect of another relegation.
Albion are now eight points adrift with just seven games left to play.
Jonas Olsson, Albion’s rugged centre-half, might be thinking the same as most but he’s refusing to acknowledge it publicly.
But even he accepts that it will need something akin to a miracle to keep the club in the Premier League.
Operation Miracle, if you could call it that, begins with Saturday’s game at Portsmouth.
“We are a long way behind but I am still hoping and believing that we can do it,” said Olsson.
“Let’s just hope. Everyone will say that we are down but we have to still believe and we do.
“We know it’s going to be tough because Saturday’s game was one three-pointer that we really needed but now we just have to go on to Portsmouth and try to beat them instead.
“That’s the way it works and it’s how you have to think as a player.
“I think hours after the game you have to be devastated because that’s the sign that we are all passionate about it and we all do really care.
“From now we have to keep going and keep believing. That’s the only way to turn it around.
“I don’t want to think about next season yet because we still have a chance to stay up.
“That’s the way I see it and I try to focus on the present.”
Albion supporters left their team in no doubt about their feelings.
Most were long gone by the time the final whistle blew against Stoke City. Those who remained chanted ‘What a Load of Rubbish’.
Olsson sympathised and claimed that their dismay was shared by the players.
“It is understandable,” he added.
“They are passionate and the players are passionate. No one feels as bad as the 20 players and staff sitting in the changing room.
“We are devastated but for us life has to go on. There are still seven games and we still have a chance.
“That’s the way we have to think.”
n?Albion fans will be hoping the outcome of the reserves’ league clash with Portsmouth is not a precursor to what happens on Saturday after the second string were beaten 3-0 by Pompey last night.
The home side, with Graham Dorrans in their ranks, gave a debut to Youssouf Mulumbu and were competitive for the opening 45 minutes.
However, they conceded a goal on the stroke of half-time to Thomas Kilbey and the same player netted a second midway through the second half.
Kilbey completed his hat-trick in stoppage time.