West Brom boss Tony Pulis insists he has forgiven derby-day hero Saido Berahino, whose first-half strike sealed a 1-0 victory at Aston Villa on Saturday.
The England under-21 striker had previously pushed for a move during the transfer window amid reported interest from Tottenham, even going so far as to claim he would never play for the club again under current chairman Jeremy Peace.
But after clear-the-air talks with Berahino and the rest of the team earlier in the week, Pulis was left in no doubt about the youngster’s commitment and was rewarded with the striker popping up five minutes before half time to deflect James Morrison’s effort home.
And having already brought Berahino off the bench last week in the home draw with Southampton, the former Stoke City boss insists he is ready to move on adding the striker may well regret his actions.
“The transfer window was an absolute nightmare for us with Saido and that side show going on,” he told BBC Sport. “That was really difficult and it affected everybody at the football club and you try and dampen it down but it was just difficult.
“When you’re young you make mistakes and in hindsight in a few years time he will say he didn’t handle the situation well but we’ve all done it. We’ve all made mistakes and the kid’s been crucified every which way but loose and maybe to some extent he deserves it, but that’s gone now and hopefully in a few years time he will look back and he will say ‘well I didn’t manage it that well’.
“But he’s a good player and he showed signs today of that today. His touch and his movement was class and he is a predator.”
The 22-year old was not the only focus of praise for Pulis, who was left roundly satisfied at his side’s performance as they picked up their first win at Villa Park for four years.
“We’ve played well today,” he said. “We’ve moved with the ball quickly, we’ve got the full backs up and they’ve worked through the different blocks. Last week I don’t think we got them further than our back four.
“But they moved through into midfield, they worked with the midfield and actually at times they were up with the forwards as well so they’ve moved up and down the pitch a lot better today to give us more options and more opportunities to pass the ball through the pitch, which we did well.”
As well as handing bragging rights to the visitors, the result also banishes bad memories of this fixture from last season, which saw Tim Sherwood claim his first victory at the Villa Park helm.
“We talked about it all week and mentioned the two defeats last year and the importance of this to the supporters and the supporters were brilliant today,” Pulis said.
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