Joint-assistant No.2 disappointed with late leveller but glad to still be in cup
KEVIN Keen admitted Albion paid the price for a late ‘slip’ in today’s 1-1 FA Cup draw at QPR – but was delighted to be in tomorrow’s fourth-round draw with a replay to come at The Hawthorns.
The Baggies dominated the Loftus Road encounter and Shane Long’s 79th-minute strike - his eighth goal of the season - looked to have won it for the visitors.
But former West Ham coach Keen saw his former Upton Park buddy Kieron Dyer pop up with an equaliser in the dying seconds to take the tie to a replay.
And the two sides will now battle it out again – the fourth meeting between the two sides this term – in 11 days’ time.
“We’re a little bit disappointed, we felt we did well in the game, we played well, especially in the second half, created chances,” said Albion’s joint-assistant head coach.
We felt the game was going to peter out but we slipped up at the end.
“But these things happen in football and, along with QPR, we’re in the draw for the next round.
“We’re going to take them back to The Hawthorns and have a real go at them there.
“What happened in the last 30 seconds can happen in any game.
“Today it happened and an old friend of mine, Kieron Dyer, who I spent many years with at West Ham, popped up with a goal.
“We’re a fraction disappointed but we’ve come and performed and the squad has done well considering we’ve picked up a couple of injuries.
“We’ve got a lot of positives to take from today.”
He added: “Our record at home is pretty good.
“We’ve played QPR three times this season, won here in the league and won at The Hawthorns, that’s the first draw.
“But you never know in the FA Cup, with fixture pile-ups and injuries, so, we’ll just wait and see.
“We’re confident playing at home against anybody.”
Steve Clarke fielded a strong team against the R’s and Keen insisted they will continue to take the competition seriously.
And he praised the near-1,500 travelling Baggies fans, who made the trip down to West London to support their team.
“I think even if we’d been nearer the relegation zone Steve would have played a strong team,” he said.
“For West Bromwich Albion the FA Cup and League Cup are a chance to try and give the fans what they want.
“Every fan would love to see their team play at Wembley.
“We’re in the third round, there is a long way to go, there are many twists and turns as we saw in the last minute today.
“But certainly, West Brom’s goal is to get as far as we can and give the supporters what they want.
“Too many people disrespect the FA Cup but other people see goals in other avenues."
He added: “The supporters were fantastic today.
“Our away support has been good all season and they were really good.
“We know it means a lot to them and believe me, it means a lot to me, Steve, Keith.
“Everyone associated with the club want to get as far as we can in this competition.
“It’s a fantastic competition and I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to play their strongest team and get as far as you can.”