Head coach delighted after Villa victory
ALAN Irvine was 'delighted and relieved' following Albion's victory over Villa - despite being left with a sore hand courtesy of goalscorer Craig Gardner.
The Albion head coach was particularly pleased for Gardner, who he feels was long-overdue his moment of glory.
Although Irvine did have one slight quibble after the game.
“My hand is still stinging so maybe I shall ask for him to go somewhere else (and celebrate) next time," joked Irvine.
“But I wouldn’t have minded who he’d gone and celebrated with. It didn’t matter, it didn’t need to be me that’s for sure.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the way they go about things on a day-to-day basis and it was nice of Craig to do that.
“I’m delighted and relieved to get the win that we have probably deserved in some of the other games that we’ve played recently."
Irvine continued: "Craig’s been a great pro since the first day he came in, a great example for any of the players.
“He has been absolutely desperate to score and so it means so much to him to have got that goal today. I know he is absolutely thrilled.
“He practices his shooting day after day and practices his free-kicks day after day. He is just a model pro."
Irvine was pleased Albion's patience paid off.
"I felt that as long as we kept making the right decisions, and as long as we kept our patience and played with intelligence that chances would come," he added.
“That became more and more the case as it was going on.
“I think everybody assumes that is it going to be easy playing against 10 men, but you only have to go back a few weeks to when we played at Chelsea.
“We went down to 10 men for that kind of length of time and we didn’t concede, so I certainly didn’t see it as being a foregone conclusion that we would score.
“But I felt that if we kept doing the right things then our chances of scoring were certainly much higher.
“The crowd were fantastic. It didn’t surprise me to be honest. I know what derbies mean, I expected the ground to be rocking and it was."