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McAuley hails blood and guts display

PUBLISHED

12:47 30th September 2013

Defender singles out Olsson and Anichebe for putting bodies on line

GARETH McAuley has praised his team-mates for defending from the front as their bravery and endeavour at Old Trafford paid off with three points.

And the Baggies centre-half singled out Jonas Olsson and Victor Anichebe for putting their bodies on the line in Saturday's pulsating 2-1 win at Manchester United.

Olsson played more than an hour of the match with a bandaged head after suffering a cut above his right eye in an accidental clash with Javier Hernandez.

Anichebe was also limping badly just before half-time but battled on to lead the line manfully throughout the second half.

“It’s not often you go to Old Trafford and leave with three points but I thought it was richly deserved," said McAuley, who has been part of an Albion backline that has conceded just five goals in six top-flight games this term.

“We knew what we were doing from the start. We had practiced it on the training ground throughout the week, especially in the previous couple of days.

“We knew if we believed in ourselves we had a chance of winning and thankfully that’s what we did."

He added: "At one stage, Jonas was bleeding quite heavily and a few United players were trying to get him off before they took their free-kick, but we were telling him to keep wiping it so the referee wouldn’t see it!

“Thankfully, he was able to stay on and see that off, because we might have struggled in that situation without his height and presence.

“We defended from the front and the boys were fantastic.

“Victor held up everything and never gave them a moment’s peace all afternoon.

“We also had Stephane Sessegnon and Morgan Amalfitano dribbling, then Saido getting another goal.

“The boys at the front did a great job for us and we had to do our jobs and concede less goals at the back."

The Northern Ireland international admits confidence is now high in the Baggies dressing room following back-to-back league wins as they prepare to face table-toppers Arsenal on Sunday (ko 4pm).

“One of the best things about us is we will always back ourselves in the dressing room," said McAuley.

“We have a strong belief, strong bond and confidence in each other.

“We know if we do things right, we are a good side. It’s when we get away from that we don’t pick up points.

“It’s been nice in the last couple of weeks to start putting points on the board and get our confidence back going into a tough home game this week."

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