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McAuley: West Brom could have done more

West Brom defender Gareth McAuley has expressed regret over his side’s failure to accrue even more points during the 2012-13 campaign.

Steve Clarke’s men proved the surprise package of the English top-flight season, earning the club’s record Premier League points haul of 49 to finish eighth.

But McAuley believes West Brom could have done even better had they avoided periods of poor form such as their six-game winless run between December and February.

“Eighth place is a fantastic achievement,” he told the club’s official website.

“We set out at the start of the season to better where we finished last year and we will probably set the same target next year when we come back for pre-season.

“Finishing in the top eight is a great achievement but there is a little bit of frustration that in the second half of the season we weren’t as good and we could maybe have finished a bit higher if we had kept going in the second half.

“We just hit a period where we had a few injuries and a few key players out of the team. That carried on for a long period. When we got them back we picked up a bit of rhythm and picked up a few more points.

“So, if we can keep people fit and playing, hopefully we can carry on our form throughout the season, rather than just the first half or first three quarters.
“We got to 40 points ages ago. It seems like an eternity. We just couldn’t get to 50, unfortunately, so I think when the dust settles in a couple of weeks we will be kicking ourselves because we threw points and games away really.

“When you look back over the season we could have been well over 50.”

McAuley, 33, also spoke of his desire for the club to retain the services of Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, who scored 17 Premier League goals during his season-long spell at the Hawthorns.

“I will be on at him every day during the summer,” he added. “Everybody will be after him for next season because he’s a great talent but he likes it here.
“He’s got 17 goals for us this season, and if Chelsea don’t use him next season hopefully he will come back and get us 20-plus next season. He’s been a force for us.
“He is a great player and we saw that on Sunday, when he came off the bench and changed it for us. He scored three goals and we couldn’t ask any more from him.”

Fri 24 May, 2013
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