Cup excitement won’t distract from survival task
TONY Pulis was a Baggies boss fighting to keep feet on the ground as Albion became a club falling to FA Cup fever this weekend.
A stunning 4-0 demolition of fellow Premier League outfit West Ham continued the revival under the Head Coach and booked Albion a place in the quarter-finals.
Pulis must have been delighted with what everyone will agree was the team’s most complete performance of the season as well as the continuing transformation of top scorer Brown Ideye.
But that was just one among a string of stand-out performances from a team hoping to combine FA Cup excitement with Premier League survival.
It all adds up to a total change of mood at The Hawthorns and Pulis’s post match reflections were all about taking nothing for granted.
“We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he repeated.
“Yes, there were things that pleased me in this performance but there are also plenty of things driving me mad still!
“This is a different team with different qualities to the one I worked with at Palace and at Stoke. At Palace, for example, we had pace down the sides but we don’t have that here. We have other qualities such as trickery and we’ve got ‘Bobby’ and Berahino working as a partnership. But it is all about adapting to the strengths we have and we are still working on that.
“We’ve got as very tough game coming up next weekend at Sunderland and we’ve got to bring everybody down to earth to make sure they are focused on that and that alone.
“I’m delighted for the fans and I think they would have enjoyed themselves with this performance. They will enjoy the draw – but my job now is to get this group focused only on Sunderland.”
The two-goal show from Ideye, to make it four in three games, continued a revival that sees the Nigerian fast becoming a Hawthorns cult hero.
“It’s confidence – that’s all it is,” said Pulis.
“Confidence is everything. He got that goal last week and he has gone on from there. And we’re all delighted for him at the club because you could not ask to work with a nicer or more honest guy. He has been desperate to do well and it is smashing to see him enjoying the fruits of his labours.”