Club News

Brunt: Di Matteo saw something in me

Midfielder glad he's done former boss' decision to make him captain justice

CHRIS Brunt will be looking to make it a miserable return to The Hawthorns today for the man who made him Albion captain.

To the midfielder's surprise, Roberto Di Matteo handed him the armband midway through the 2010/11.

But he has enjoyed success as Baggies skipper ever since and has thanked his former boss for showing faith in him as he prepares to face his Chelsea team, with fifth hosting third in the Barclays Premier League.

“Everyone got on well with Robbie,” said Brunt.

“He was good around the players.

“I was surprised he made me captain.

“He left Scott Carson out of the side for a couple of games and asked me to be captain.

“It’s stayed that way ever since.

“He was great with me and I got on very well with him.”

The Northern Ireland international has praised Di Matteo for the part he played in the club’s progress over the last four seasons.

And, after the club parted company with the Italian in January 2011, is delighted it has worked out for all parties in the long term.

“In the long run things have worked out well for everyone," he added.

“At the end of Robbie’s time things weren’t going very well here and the club makes decisions based on results.

“In football it’s all on the manager’s head.

“But at the time we weren’t playing well as players so we should take some of the blame as well.

“Credit to him, he’s moved on, gone to Chelsea and won the FA Cup and Champions League.

“We’re delighted for him.

“He was great when he was here. He’s a nice guy, Eddie [Newton] as well, but sometimes things just don’t work out.

“After a successful season in the Championship, the Premier League is a different step.

“He’s gone to Chelsea and got them maybe doing things the previous manager wasn’t – and has had success from that.

“Anyone who looks at our club can see how far we’ve moved on in the last four to five years.

“Robbie played a part in that.

“The club made a decision and, looking back now, it was the right one.

“And if Robbie looks back on it now he’d probably say it was the right one for him – look how well it’s panned out for him.”

And Brunt insists Di Matteo will return to The Hawthorns to face a different Albion side to the one he left behind, with Steve Clarke’s men looking to secure a sixth home win in seven games.

“It’s a slightly different West Brom now," he said.

“We played very well against Chelsea last season.

“We won 1-0 and we thoroughly deserved it.

“So, they’ll be coming here knowing they will be in a game.

“I’m sure Robbie will be hammering that home this week.

“It’s going to be a tough test for us because they’ve got some of the best players in the world - but we’re doing okay ourselves at the moment.

“We’ll be trying to keep our good home form going.

“If someone had said before the start of the season that we’d have 20 points after 11 games you would probably have looked at them funny.

“But credit to the lads and coaching staff, who have done everything right so far this season.

“It’s now important we keep that going.”