Club News

Irvine looks ahead to Stamford Bridge

Pocognoli a major doubt for Albion game

ALAN Irvine spoke to the media ahead of Saturday's trip to Chelsea - admitting that defender Sebastien Pocognoli was a doubt for the game at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international has been struggling with a hamstring problem since going off at half-time in the most recent game against Newcastle.

Jonas Olsson (Achilles) is a definite non-starter.

Irvine spoke about Saido Berahino and Chelsea's strengths during his 25-minute long press briefing.

Speaking about BERAHINO, Irvine said:
"I've not had time to sit down and chat to Saido yet which is what I said I would do when he was called up. But he was pleased to have been away, he looked hungry to continue his development. 

"He maybe disappointed he didn't get on but it will benefit him that he went away.

"It's vitally important that he learns from the experience he had and that it helps make him an even better player and get more of a taste of being away with England in the future.

"I was disappointed for both boys (Foster and Berahino) that they didn't figure but not too disappointed from a selfish point of view, not least as I knew what was around the corner in terms of the demands of the game at Chelsea. I was happy our players were less likely to come back injured and more likely to come back and be ready to compete."

On CHELSEA, Irvine continued:
"Some players will get confidence from previous results as they will have played in those games, but it is a completely different game. 

"I would probably argue that Chelsea have strengthened a very good squad from last year by adding some exceptionally good players. 

"They are stronger but it doesn't mean we can't get something from there. We have a chance - there is absolutely no question of that - but we will need to play extremely well.

"They are very effective from free play and every effective from set-pieces. We need to take the opportunities that we get to attack them. It's important that our players aren't passive - we have to be organised, but also positive and aggressive when we have the ball. We have to be ready for the threats they've got, but be good with the ball ourselves too."