And skipper praises cool Berahino
CHRIS Brunt says his team-mates reaped the rewards for believing a goal would eventually come in today’s 1-0 Hawthorns victory over Newcastle.
Saido Berahino netted an 87th-minute penalty to earn Albion their first win since early November – after Matej Vydra was felled by Tim Krul from Brunt’s defence-splitting pass.
And the Albion skipper was impressed with the never-say-die attitude of his fellow players as they created chance after chance in front of a sell-out home crowd.
“Today we felt if we could keep a clean sheet we’d have a good chance of winning.
“We had to keep plugging away and keep believing.
“But we kept playing our football.
“Newcastle didn’t lie down and it was difficult to break them down.
“It’s easy to get sucked into shelling balls into the box but obviously with the strikers we have that wasn’t going to be our game plan.
“Credit to the lads, we kept the ball moving and making runs.
“Eventually something fell for us.
“The win was long overdue.”
Brunt heaped praise on Berahino who showed ‘nerves of steel’ to score his first Barclays Premier League penalty three minutes from time.
“It was a great penalty from Saido under quite a bit of pressure,” he added.
“It shows what a good finisher he is at such a young age.
“We needed a win from somewhere.
“When the ball was on the spot we were all confident he could tuck it away because he’s a great finisher.
“He showed nerves of steel to step up at his age.
“Fair play to him.”
The Baggies host Crystal Palace in the FA Cup third round on Saturday (ko 3pm) – before games against Southampton, Everton and Villa.
And Brunt hopes the New Year’s Day win will boost confidence as Albion prepare for an important run of fixtures.
“Hopefully it will lead to more but our next two league games are going to be tough.
“It’s a confidence boost for everyone.
“The belief we’ve had over the last couple of weeks has been unreal.
“Deano [Kiely] and Keith [Downing] have stepped in and they’ve done a great job.
“Hopefully we can get something in the cup and build on that.
“The boys have pulled together and hopefully we’ve turned a corner a now.
“Hopefully we can start a fresh in the new year.
“The lads have been top drawer over the last couple of weeks and we’ve got our reward for it today.”