Striker looking up the table rather than down
SHANE Long insists Albion have aspirations to finish as high up the Barclays Premier League table as possible – but says they will remain grounded after earning a fourth-successive victory with today’s 4-2 win at Sunderland.
The Republic of Ireland striker netted the Baggies' second goal of the game after capitalising on goalkeeper Simon Mignolet’s 44th-minute error.
Steve Clarke’s side have climbed to the heady heights of third, with fourth-placed Chelsea hosting reigning champions Manchester City tomorrow.
And Long, the club’s five-goal league top scorer, appreciates fans will be unable to control their excitement at the current league placing.
“The table makes nice viewing and I’m sure the fans enjoy looking at it at this stage of the season,” said Long.
“We’re not getting too carried away, though.
“We can dream but at the moment we’re just looking at the next game to see how we can get three points from it.
“We try to keep in touching distance of the teams above us rather than looking down at the teams below us and it’s working for us this season.
“But there’s a long way to go.
“The further we go, the more respect we’ll get from other teams and the harder it will be for us.
“Hopefully, we can keep on this run and make it five or six wins in a row.
“We came to Sunderland with a bit of confidence and we thought we could get all three points.
“It’s not an easy place to come. They’re a good side.
"But we knew if we played our football and believed in ourselves we could get something out of the game.
“We went 2-0 up and we didn’t help ourselves letting them get back to 2-1.
"But we had the confidence going forward. The head coach made changes and it worked for us.
“We play good football and we’re hard to play against, so it’s a recipe for good things."
Long was pleased his hard work helped earn Albion their second goal of the afternoon and says it is no coincidence he was waiting to pounce.
“There’s nothing more frustrating than when a shot pops off the keeper and you stand there looking at him collect it the second time," he added.
“I’ve made it a bit of a thing of mine to close down those shots as you never know what can happen.
“You have to make sure you tuck it away once you’ve got into that position.
“Luckily, it paid off for me today.
“You can do that five or six times in a game and often it goes unnoticed.
“Most of the time, the keeper falls onto it and no-one says anything."
Long added “The football we play is brilliant for me as I can try and get in behind defenders and create space for the lads to try and play me in.
"Mozza did that in the second half but I wasn’t able to convert and it was a good save.
“We had Brunty on one wing and Peter on the other causing them all sorts of problems.
“Then you have Gera and Mozza and I think they’re happier setting up goals than scoring them.
“Because of the way we play, I always think we can win.
"I think everybody’s the same here - we go into every game thinking we can win.
“It’s good times at West Brom.”