West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray has already seen enough from his side and the Premier League this season to give him confidence for the future even though a lack of goals and defensive lapses have undermined his team’s efforts.
The Baggies were the leading scorers in the Championship and, despite their perceived defensive frailties, were also the team that kept the most clean sheets. They are yet to manage one of those in the top flight but Mowbray sees no problem at either end as the season rolls on.
He said: “I think we can control games, cause the opposition problems and I think we can score enough goals.
“Ishmael [Miller] played against two centre-halfs on Saturday who are just as big, quick and strong as he is. There are not that many in the Championship and we have got to get used to the quality of defending against us.
“Generally, I think we will be fine. We controlled the tempo of the game, dictated most of the play and yet we lost.
“I don’t think strikers are going to be our problem. We scored 106 goals last season and 105 the year before.
“There will be no knee-jerk reaction on our part regarding our strikers not taking enough chances. We’d like to sign another striker if we can but these boys have earned the right to have a go in the Premier League.”
The Baggies dominated possession, territory and largely dictated the pace against an Everton side missing a few first team players, a fact overplayed by their manager, David Moyes, considering the team that played at Hawthorns included seven of their side that finished fifth in Premier League last season.
Albion travel to Hartlepool United on Tuesday night for the second round of the Carling Cup.
The game should serve as a good opportunity to boost confidence, most pertinently for Luke Moore who is yet to score in an Albion shirt. He has also been injured for the opening brace of games in the top-flight since turning his loan deal permanent for £3.25million in the summer.
A number of other fringe players are likely to start at Victoria Park including Marek Cech, Carl Hoefkens, Roman Bednar, Craig Beattie, Sherjill MacDonald, Pedro Pele and Dean Kiely.
Mowbray added: “I think we will be fine if we keep playing the way we are playing. We dominated for long spells and ended up losing but Premier League sides are hard to score against.
“We are not going to score 100 goals this year but, when we do create chances, we have got to try and take a high percentage of them.
“We are going to be judged on how many games we win, how many points we can pick up. Our strikers have got to work extremely hard and, when the chances come along, they’ve got to take them.”
More pleasing for Mowbray have been the performances of his defence, the unit that most thought would be most exposed in the Premier League.
While the manager admits the home loss to Everton was notable for a couple of howling defensive errors involving Abdoulaye Meite and Scott Carson, two of his new signings, he was pleased with the overall performance and believes the more his side play the less the chance of costly misunderstandings.
He said: “We had the most clean sheets in the Championship last year. We did concede a few goals when games became open but we are rebuilding the defensive unit.
“We have got a new keeper, right-back, centre-half and we work on strenghening that area continually so let’s wait and see.
“I didn’t feel threatened defensively. I thought we controlled it very well and yet isolated incidents, their first goal the one to give us concern really.
“The second goal was preventable but maybe it was a misunderstanding between two new players to our club. I am sure we will get sorted. Defensively we looked assured, quick into the tackle.
“I can’t remember them having many efforts on goal.”