Club News

Olsson pours praise on Baggies pair

Centre-back hails makeshift defensive partners

Versatile duo Chris Brunt and Craig Dawson epitomise the spirit amid Albion’s ranks, according to Jonas Olsson.

With Steven Reid, Liam Ridgewell and Billy Jones all unavailable for selection against Arsenal on Sunday, midfielder Brunt slotted in at left-back while centre-half Dawson was left to fill in at right-back.

The pair performed admirably against the attacking riches on show amid the Gunners’ armoury, including Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski.

It was not enough to prevent the high-flying hosts from claiming a slender 1-0 victory, yet influential centre-back Olsson reserved plenty of praise for his makeshift defensive partners. 

“I thought Daws did really well as a right-back and Brunty at left-back,” the Sweden international said.

“That’s what you need to do when you’re a team like West Bromwich.

“We don’t have the depth in squad like Arsenal or Liverpool.

“At this time of the season you have suspensions and injuries and you have to rely on players doing a job in a position they’re not used to.

“And I thought they both did really well.

“It is therefore frustrating we did concede from a corner because I thought we were organised.”

Giroud’s 16th Barclays Premier League goal of the season clinched victory for Arsenal, nodding home at the near post from Cazorla’s corner.

Albion were not short of endeavour or graft at the Emirates Stadium but were restricted to half-chances as they tried in vain to find a route back into the encounter.

Olsson added: “It was a tough one. I thought we did all right in the second half. We were better and tried not to sit back and tried to get at them.

“It’s frustrating losing a game on a set-piece because I thought we were quite organised and played all right but didn’t hurt them enough.

“On a good day maybe we would have nicked a point but it wasn’t to be.” 

Pepe Mel’s charges now enter the final week of the season with two matches remaining.

Tomorrow’s trip to in-form Sunderland is first up before the Baggies finish off the campaign with the visit of Stoke to The Hawthorns on Sunday.

Top-flight survival is all but mathematically secured, with one more point needed to be absolute certain of playing Premier League football next term.

And Olsson is targeting that, and more, against the Black Cats.

“We still have two games,” he said. “It’s a tough task now going to the Stadium of Light but we’re on an up now as well.

“We have played reasonably well in the last few weeks and had some good performances and we should probably have got a few more points.

“We will approach these two games as we have all season.

“Firstly we wanted to stay up but there are a few teams above us that we want to catch as well."