Caretaker chief hails impact of duo in vital win
KEITH Downing praised Saido Berahino for beating the pressure – and hailed goal creator Chris Brunt – as Albion left it late to beat Newcastle 1-0 at The Hawthorns.
Berahino showed maturity beyond his 20 years as he stepped up three minutes from time to fire home the winner from the penalty spot and end the Baggies' ten-game wait for a victory.
It was his eighth goal of the campaign in all competitions, after only making his first-team debut in August.
Downing said: “Nico [Anelka] can take them, Brunty can, and I think it was the one who felt the most confident – so Saido stepped up.
“Fair play to him; he has an old head on young shoulders and it was a good penalty.
“He knew the importance of it and he hit it well.
“The keeper guessed right but he struck it well.
“He has that ability to score goals on his left or right foot.
“He’s a confident boy in front of goal.
“He thoroughly understood about the consequences of it – it was a big pressure penalty.”
Downing also handed the plaudits to Brunt, insisting his role in the team is underestimated.
The Albion skipper played in Matej Vydra to win the all-important penalty against the Magpies on the back of having a key role in all three goals in Saturday’s 3-3 draw at West Ham.
“Chris Brunt produced a fantastic assist with Vydra’s run,” he added.
“Chris gets underestimated here.
“He produced three assists at West Ham and got another one for the penalty here today.
“He’s an important part of the team.
“I’ve used 20 players in the last four games – and there are some good players here.
“In the dressing room their togetherness and spirit in the last few games has certainly brought the club on.”