Club News

Big G: We were not at our best

And defender calls on team-mates to bounce back in derby

GARETH McAuley admits Albion were not at their best during last night’s 1-0 FA Cup third-round replay defeat by QPR - but insists they did not deserve to lose.

The Baggies tested the Rangers goal throughout the tie but were denied on several occasions by the heroics of England keeper Robert Green. 

Steve Clarke’s outfit recorded 19 shots at goal with 12 efforts on target – but Jay Bothroyd’s 76th-minute header earned the visitors a fourth-round home clash with MK Dons.

And the Northern Ireland international defender has called on his team-mates to bounce back from yesterday’s cup exit in Saturday’s derby with Villa at The Hawthorns (ko 5.30pm).   

“We’re not happy to go out,” said McAuley. 

“We weren’t brilliant but I don’t think the performance deserved for us to get beaten.

“Rob Green was fantastic in goal for them and conceding from a set-piece to lose a game is disappointing because it’s something you prepare yourself for beforehand.

“But we’ve lost a few on the bounce now so we’ve got to dig deep and the senior guys in the squad have to get everyone together and get everyone positive because we have a very important game on Saturday.

“I wanted an FA Cup run. I’ve never really had an FA Cup run. I’ve had a couple of decent ones in the League Cup but never really in the FA Cup.

“We saw the draw and we wanted to get through to another home draw in the next round.

“But we knew it was going to be tough and we came up short.

“I don’t know what’s changed. 

“Maybe it’s just little bits and pieces and the rub of the green here and there - and we’re missing players. 

“There are quite a few just coming back from injury now and that will make us stronger again.

“We’ve just got to keep believing because we know it will turn around if we keep doing what we’re asked to and perform to our best."

He added: “Villa are desperate for the points but we’re desperate for a performance, for a win and for a clean sheet – for anything at the minute - and there’s no better time to do it.

“There’s no hiding place, especially in a derby game, and hopefully the crowd will pack The Hawthorns out and get behind us from the start.”