The planning, the training, the game, the way ahead…
CAPTAIN Darren Fletcher was in huge demand from the media after leading the Baggies to a victory which avenged Albion’s bitter double defeat at Villa Park last season.
‘Fletch’, who gave a Man of the Match performance in an outstanding team display, gave a fascinating glimpse of the work which he believes has put the team firmly on the front foot for the road ahead.
Here’s what he had to say on:
THE BUILD UP
“We trained really well - the training levels were fantastic this week. Everyone was excited because we don't know how that's going to reflect in games but the manager and everyone had a good feeling after how well we trained.
“We had a real good week working on things we didn't think we were doing well in games and thankfully it came right.
"You have to try and quieten them down. That's important in derbies you have to try and manage the game, you have to quieten the crowd. You can't get in too many altercations that rile them. You have to take the sting out of it and be very clever in football and I thought we did that on Saturday. Our game management was brilliant.
"It was a good win. I think we suffered here last season in two games and I think for us personally and the fans it was a real tough one to take - two defeats in a week - and we really wanted to put that right.
"I think our performance was fantastic from start to finish. Particularly first-half with the tempo we played at and we kept a clean sheet and were unfortunate not to score a couple more.
"We worked on really taking the game to them and not let them be the home team and dominate the match.
“All-around the team were fantastic. In the second-half you'd like to play better and maybe take advantage of a few more counter attacks but ultimately you're defending a one-goal lead in the derby and you're going to be under a bit of pressure.
“But I think we dealt with everything that was thrown at us.”
“We really put them under pressure and tried to get support to Salomon who I think we've isolated quite a bit.
"We've spoken about that. He's been working so hard and I've been feeling sorry for him. It's important that we get up and support him and I think we did that on Saturday and he looked so much better because of that - he was a real threat and unlucky not to score.”
"This is the standard that we need to set for ourselves now. This is the way the manager wants us to play. We've been finding it hard to strike that balance between keeping clean sheets and being defensively solid but also being a threat. But I think we struck that balance perfectly at Villa.
"Those are the standards that we need to meet going forward if we want to have a good season.”
"Since I've came here from day one I've really enjoyed it. I knew I was joining a nice club but I didn't realise how good it was. Everything about the club from the staff around the training ground - it's a real family feel and the fans have made me feel really welcome and I'm really enjoying my football.
"I want the best for West Bromwich Albion and I really want us to push up the table and really have a good season.”
"I thought he was fantastic on Saturday. He’s a great player and we want him to be a great player for West Bromwich Albion while he's here.
"It's great he has ambition. I love that he has that and wants to play at the highest level. I think he'll score goals for England in the future and that's how highly I rate him.
"While he's here I reiterate to do your best, work as hard as you can and keep the respect of the dressing room because football's a funny game, You never know what can happen in six months or a year down the line.
"So I reiterated that to him and I thought he was fantastic on Saturday.
“I'd like to think everything has healed now. If you want to improve as a team then you need everyone in the right direction.
"There was a little bit of a mixed reaction last week but Saturday was a great reaction and we want the fans behind the team - behind everyone and pushing in the right direction. That will be best for the club going forward.”
THE WINNING GOAL...
"He did divert it for the goal. His words were it's a 'Zidane touch'. He felt that he meant it. You can tell he doesn't lack confidence.
"No claims that he tried to get out the way. He claims that he meant it and his words are: 'It was like Zidane'.
AND SAIDO’S TAKING CORNERS NOW?
"Because he puts in a fantastic delivery, Once he did it in training the balls were fantastic. You find that with forward; Robin van Persie took them at United. They're good strikers of the ball and I think they know where the ball is dangerous to score.
"People might say they should be scoring but when you're moving up big defenders then they are the ones who are going to get on the end of the crosses.
"He was a wide attacking midfielder today and putting in fantastic crosses. If the delivery is good we've got players that can get on the end of them and get you goals.
...AND CLAUDIO’S CROWN JEWELLS?
"That's ‘Yac’ for you - he put it on the line for the team with that block in the first half! He’s tough and brave and that's what we come to expect from him. He's a great lad and a great player."