Wednesday, July 26, 2017

West Brom did not get the breaks – Pulis

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Apr 2016

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Tony Pulis felt West Brom did not get the breaks in Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham.

West Brom started well enough at The Hawthorns, but failed to convert the chances they created – although only a brilliant clearance from Michail Antonio denied Craig Gardner.

And West Ham made the hosts pay as Cheikhou Kouyate’s header and a brace from Mark Noble inspired Slaven Bilic’s men to the win and helped them beat their record points total in the Premier League.

“It’s been so disappointing watching it because we needed a goal and needed a break, I mean how Antonio clears that off the line I’ll never know,” Pulis said.

“He’s facing towards goal and usually that hits your foot and goes into the back of the net. It’s hit his foot and gone outside the goal. So, you know that bit of a break we needed wasn’t there. 

“Their first two goals, one of them the challenge from Fletch [Darren Fletcher] goes straight out to their lad and they score. Even the second one we’re well set up and it hits [Craig] Dawson’s toe and takes three players out of the game. 

“Once you give West Ham those opportunities they’ve got a great team. I thought Noble was outstanding in midfield. They punish you.”

One positive for West Brom was the performance of 17-year-old forward Jonathan Leko, who became the first player born in 1999 to start a match in the Premier League.

And Pulis believes that exposure to the first team is crucial for young players attempting to make it at the top level.

“I keep saying, academy football is a system there that is supposed to be there for excellence,” he added. “In any other sport players would be driven and pushed. 

“Playing in important games with seasoned professionals is important and for some reason a lot of academies want to keep their players playing Under-21 football. It’s beyond me. I’ve watched Under-21 football and it’s certainly not preparation for what is needed out there. 

“I thought he (Leko) was fantastic. He’s a bit similar to [Yannick] Bolasie at Crystal Palace, he has raw pace and talent. He does things that are instinctive. The kid can be a good player, but he needs to learn the game with professionals.”

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