Club News

Long: We will provide Christmas cheer

Ireland international turns his attention to Cardiff

SHANE Long has called on his team-mates to learn from the 2-0 defeat by Norwich – but insists it is now time to focus on Saturday’s trip to Cardiff (ko 3pm). 

The visit of the Canaries was Albion’s second of six Barclays Premier League fixtures during December. 

And Long says they are still able to provide supporters with the ultimate Christmas present – back-to-back victories against the Bluebirds and Hull. 

“I think the sooner we forget about Saturday the better,” said the Ireland striker.

“We know we need to pick things up fairly soon but it’s too early to start worrying. 

“We need to get back to playing teams off the field and letting the rest take care of itself.

“We have two winnable games coming up now against Cardiff and Hull and then the Christmas period with West Ham and Tottenham.

“There are still points up for grabs so we can’t get too down on ourselves. 

“We’ve just got to forget about Saturday, get back in training, get down to work, and concentrate on the job in hand.
“Saturday was one of the three games in a row where we thought we could get three points, so to come away with nothing was frustrating.

“We’ve got to learn from it but at the same time forget about it because we’ve got to make sure we pick up three points next Saturday and then move onto the Saturday after.

“Good results would take a bit of pressure off us going into the hectic Christmas schedule.”

Long was a half-time replacement for Liam Ridgewell as the Baggies went in search of an equaliser at The Hawthorns. 

And the 26-year-old hitman, who had started Albion’s previous five fixtures, says he understands why Steve Clarke named him as a substitute against the Canaries.   

“Three games in a week was on the gaffer’s mind so he made four or five changes and tried to freshen it up," added Long.

“At half-time he gave me and Saido the nod to try to attack a bit more and we had four strikers on the pitch in the second half.

“We were all over them but we just couldn’t get that little break and if we’d got one I think we could’ve got two or three.

“The gaffer did it last year with myself and Rom [Lukaku], giving one another a rest.

“He’s got that depth in the squad to know he can throw someone in there and share the load.

“I think I’ve been playing well and the gaffer has reassured me of that.

“He wanted to change it on Saturday and I fully respect that.”