Forward helped Baggies claim point
TONY Pulis paid tribute to Rickie Lambert’s contribution as Albion’s last league visit to the Boleyn Ground reaped a useful point.
The Baggies came back from a faltering first-half display in which a brilliant Mauro Zarate free-kick gave West Ham an early lead to grab a 1-1 draw.
Lambert, a half-time replacement for Stephane Sessegnon, left the scene protesting claims that his 50th minute equaliser should be classified an own goal because of Winston Reid’s deflection.
But Pulis accepts there is no dispute about the value of the addition of Lambert to his squad even as the former England, Southampton and Liverpool striker struggles to break into his starting X1.
“I’ve got huge respect for Rickie, both as a footballer and a professional,” says Pulis.
“His ability is first class and so is his attitude. The lads love him and appreciate what he brings. Of course he’s got the hump with me for not picking him but I expect that.
“But in every minute of training you cannot fault him and the way he goes about his business. It’s been the same throughout his career and he is hugely respected, rightly so.”
Pulis, like Lambert, believes the goal should be credited to the Albion player but feels just as valuable was the half-time interval.
“We desperately needed it when it came because we had allowed that first-half to pass us by,” he admitted.
“I thought we started quite well but that free-kick – a soft award in my view – really knocked us back and we went flat.
“We needed to get them in and dust them down, get them re-focused. We were the better team after the break and I am little disappointed we haven’t won it. That was a brilliant save by Adrian which kept out Rondon’s header and if James McClean was a little calmer at the end he could have passed that chance into the net.”