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Brunt on international success, Sunderland, left-back and more

16 October 2015

Northern Ireland international discusses several topics

CHRIS Brunt was speaking to Premier League Television on Friday morning at the Baggies’ training ground.

Below is what he had to say on a number of matters.

On Northern Ireland’s success 

We have had a pretty good week as far as international weeks go.

Jonny Evans, Gareth McAuley and I have been involved in the squad for a long time and we have had some pretty dark days, so it is nice to come away with a little bit of success for a change.

It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I don’t think it will for a while because we are straight back into Club football where there is a long season ahead for everybody.

We have some important games coming up here that we need to concentrate on, but as the season goes on and you start thinking more about the summer, I think that is when it will start to sink in.

It is fair to say the country is going bananas and the media hype around our qualification has been huge.

There is no doubt the people back home will already be looking forward it.

On channelling international positivity into Premier League performances

We have obviously done very well internationally.

I think the fact that Jonny, Gareth and I all play together for Northern Ireland too can only be good for us here at Albion.

It is important we start picking up results especially in our home games.

We haven’t had the best of times at The Hawthorns so far this season, obviously the two games against Manchester City and Chelsea were tough but we shouldn’t have lost having been 2-0 up against Everton in the last game.

It would be nice to turn that around at the weekend.

On Sunderland 

You can never really tell how a team is going to react when a new manager comes in.

They are in the same boat as we are in terms of needing to get points on the board and win the game.

We know that it is going to be very difficult, Sam Allardyce, just like our gaffer, is a very experienced Premier League manager.

I’m sure they will both know plenty about each other and how they will want to try and play.

As the home team we will try and take the game to them and hopefully get three points on the board, we want to get that first win at The Hawthorns.

On the season so far

We know that we are conceding too many goals and not scoring enough and it is never a good combination, especially at home.

The Man City game was dead after the first 20 minutes but we gave a good account of ourselves in the Chelsea game.

The clean sheet against Southampton wasn’t the best game but we were solid defensively which is what Tony Pulis expects from us.

For the first 60 minutes against Everton we were pretty good and it was probably the best we have played all season.

The last half hour it was almost like somebody pressed the red button and we blew up.

After that we couldn’t quite bounce back against Crystal Palace but that game feels like a long time ago now after having the international break.

The lads are raring to go and looking to put things right.

On playing at left-back

I have played most of my career in midfield but I ended up playing left-back one day shortly after the gaffer came in and I have ended up staying there.

He keeps putting me there so I must be doing ok at it.

I have been playing there for Northern Ireland too so it is something I am getting more used to.

It obviously has its days when it is more difficult than others, but I have an experienced group of lads around me that are there to help me out.

If I can do my bit to help the team win games then I am more than happy to play anywhere like I have said before.

Left-backs have a heavy influence on the game now with the way it has gone, especially when in possession so that is something that I am enjoying.

The defensive side of things is a little bit different, you have to concentrate a lot more and tell somebody else what you want them to do in front of you, whereas I have been used to being told what to do playing a little bit further forward.

On targets for the season

I think the aim would be to do better than last year, when we were involved in a scrap right up until the last couple of games of the season.

Even when we were winning games, the teams around us seemed to be winning as well so it made for a very nervous last few months.

It would be nice to have a season where we didn’t have to be worrying about that.

We did ok in the FA Cup last year too, so I am sure the gaffer will be wanting to kick on on both fronts.

On the upcoming weeks

We have games against teams that are going to be expecting to be around us and finishing in the same area.

The top six teams are going to be difficult to catch but I think the rest of the league is anybody’s game, that is why the Premier League is so exciting to watch.

On the most memorable half-time team-talk 

It’s not a half-time one, but before the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford last year the gaffer got wind of the fact results were coming through on our phones of how all the other teams around us had got on.

We were the late kick-off and we had found out that a couple of teams around us had won earlier in the day.

The results had made our game against United much more difficult and we needed to get something from it.

I remember the gaffer standing up and having a go at us saying how we shouldn’t care about the other results and how we should only be focused on ourselves.

It shook a few people up in the dressing room and we went out and got the result we needed.

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