Bryan Robson has set his team a 21-point target by the New Year, as they bid to avoid another protracted relegation battle.

Albion's defeat to West Ham United last weekend, coupled with Everton's victory over Middlesbrough, has left the Baggies entrenched in the relegation zone once again. It is a position Robson ? who celebrates a year in charge at The Hawthorns tomorrow - is not relishing.

Robson created history last season when he became the first manager to avoid relegation from the Premiership despite his team being bottom at Christmas; however, he is anxious to avoid any last-day drama this term.

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Despite three successive defeats following their tremendous victory over Arsenal, Robson is encouraged by Albion's ability to create, if not convert, chances. Albion have garnered only four points from their last ten Premiership games and Robson knows they need to address this statistic if they are to have any chance of maintaining their status.

Robson said: "You can look at the league table now and, if you put six points on to our tally, then we have 14 points, which is a reasonable start.

"My aim for the New Year is to accrue more points than games played. For instance, when we have played 19 games, then I would like somewhere in the region of 21 points.

"That is achievable. I believe that the players we have at the club are good enough to do that.

"I said to the players at the start of this season that 35 points won't keep you up this time, so our aim is to make sure we get more than last year's total. Twelve months down the line, I want the club to be in mid-table in the Premiership."

However, if Robson is to achieve that goal he needs his defence to eradicate their fallibility from set-pieces.

Albion were constantly troubled by the aerial threat of Teddy Sheringham and Marlon Harewood last Saturday and will be sure to face more of the same when Everton arrive at The Hawthorns for their next fixture on November 19.

David Moyes' side have endured a desperate start to the campaign but have adopted a route-one policy to try to change their fortunes; James Beattie will be a huge threat at any dead-ball situation and Robson is fully aware that Albion need to improve on their defensive attributes.

However, he has intimated that his side, who are in all week for training, will be spending many hours on the training ground in a bid to reverse their impotency from set-pieces as well.

Robson said: "I have watched the video of the game at West Ham and we had 21 set-plays from either corners or free kicks.

"Yet we never looked like scoring from the first header or anticipating where the second ball would land.

"They had only a third of ours but looked as if they would score on the first one where Anton Ferdinand went close.

"Sheringham had another chance and they had only one free kick in the second half but we still conceded a goal.

"That was the difference between us," Robson said. "We didn't look like scoring from 21 set-pieces yet could have conceded three."

He said Albion often looked capable of scoring from open play but set-pieces were an area in which they could improve.

"It is frustrating, as I have watched a lot of West Ham's games and they fly out at people, put them under pressure and create chances; but we got through that.

"In the second half we played by far the better football and penned them back in their half but the first time they venture into our half they score a goal."

While Robson is urging his team to improve their strike rate at set-pieces he isn't unduly concerned by their profligacy in general play.

A host of opportunities have been squandered during their recent bad run but he is adamant the tide will turn.

"Our overall play after the break was very good for an away team," he said.

"You accept missing chances as part of the game and that can happen to either individual players or your team.

"If you keep creating chances, then they will start going in.

"We should have scored against Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham and I am confident we will continue to create goal-scoring opportunities."