Club News

McAuley: We must be braver

And centre-half says pride has been dented by recent defensive record

GARETH McAuley has urged his team-mates to be more ‘brave’ in Sunday’s home clash with Tottenham (ko 1.30pm) if they are to have a chance of seizing the initiative.

The Baggies have shown fighting spirit after being 2-0 down at half-time in the last two games – battling back to earn a 2-2 home draw with Villa and pushing Everton all the way before eventually losing 2-1 at Goodison Park.

But McAuley has challenged Steve Clarke’s troops to make their efforts count while the game is goalless.

“It's easy when you’re 2-0 down to play; you don’t have to be brave,” said the Baggies centre-half.

“We have to be braver at 0-0 and start taking the game to the opposition.

“There probably wasn’t a lot in it in the first half at Everton.

“It was a great goal by Baines - but we can stop that sort of goal. Then there was the penalty.

“If you keep giving yourselves mountains to climb, it’s difficult to win games at this level.”

Albion have conceded two goals or more in their last five top-flight games, with their last clean sheet coming in a goalless draw with West Ham on December 16.

And the Northern Ireland international admits his pride has been dented by the Baggies’ recent defensive record.

“We’re conceding too many goals for my liking, for Jonas’ liking, for everyone,” added McAuley.

“We need to stop that and get back to clean sheets.

“We haven’t had one in ages.

"That’s disappointing and dents your pride.”