And midfielder tips McAuley and Olsson to be in running for top honourYOUSSOUF Mulumbu has set his sights on ensuring the Baggies set a Barclays Premier League defensive record this term.
The battling midfielder believes Albion’s rise up the top-flight table over the last three seasons has been in large part down to their defensive improvement.
And if Steve Clarke’s eighth-placed men concede eight or less goals in their final six games they will better the 52 goals they let in during the 2011/12 campaign.
“If we can beat last season’s record of goals conceded that will help us to stay where we are,” said Mulumbu.
“When we started this season we showed our strength in defence and midfield.
“That’s where we’ve improved.
“When I first came to West Brom we were a little bit poor defensively.
“We conceded too many goals.
“Every year we have stepped it up and improved – and hopefully the statistics can show that as well.
“It is another challenge to keep us motivated.
“We don’t want to let this season finish on a low and be in the middle of the table.
“We’ll keep aiming high.”
The DR Congo international has also tipped central defensive duo Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson as contenders for Player of the Season.
“Both Jonas and Gareth have been really good and I think one of them should win player of the season,” added Mulumbu.
“For me Gareth has been really strong and really intelligent.
“He keeps it simple and shows composure.
“This season he has been immense and deserves to win something for sure.
“But both of them are really good.
“Jonas is a leader and he is a good player.
“I know when opponents come and play against him they know it will be a hard and difficult afternoon.
“They have improved every year.
“In this league it is important to be strong.
“When you see a team like Manchester United, sometimes they don’t really play well – but defensively they are really strong and you cannot score against them.
“We have shown more signs of being like that this season and we need to keep building on the players at the back like Ben Foster, Jonas and Gareth.”