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Irvine: Poor start to blame for Albion

26 December 2014

Head coach bemoans individual errors

ALAN Irvine claims Albion made life unnecessarily hard for themselves in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

The Baggies fell 3-0 behind during a first-half littered with individual errors - including a penalty awarded against Joleon Lescott, that led to City's second goal.

The ex-City defender was deemed to have fouled David Silva.

Their first goal, scored by Fernando, came after Ben Foster spilled the ball.

Irvine thought the decision to award the spot-kick was incorrect, but admitted that uncharacteristic mistakes were key to the overall outcome of the game, which was played in tough second-half conditions caused by heavy snow.

"It was very difficult for us to come back in the circumstances," said Irvine, reflecting on his side's poor opening. 

"The biggest thing I was interested in seeing is whether the players would be mentally strong enough, which they were.

"To be 3-0 down against a team of such quality was difficult to cope with. Full marks to them. They showed mental strength and keep on playing. They deserve credit for that.

"It was a challenge for them. I needed to see that toughness and not crumble. It's easy to say it but they did that too.

"Players who are generally reliable made individual errors. It's a surprise when any one of those players make a mistake, let alone three that have cost us. 

"They are human. They will make mistakes - it's how you deal with those."

He continued: "It wasn't a penalty in my view. Joleon got the ball and claimed it from the start.

"I couldn't believe a penalty had been given. I've seen it again and he does get the ball in my view.

"As a result we gave ourselves a mountain to climb."


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