ALAN Pardew hopes he has signalled a message of intent to both his players and supporters following his opening game in charge of Albion.
A goalless draw with Crystal Palace was scant reward for a Baggies team which got a ‘thumbs-up’ from The Hawthorns, who enjoyed watching their team take the battle to the visitors.
Pardew’s options were restricted by injuries which continue to deprive him of Nacer Chadli, James Morrison, Chris Brunt, Matt Phillips and Craig Dawson but that didn’t stop the new Head Coach opting for a three-striker formation led by Salomon Rondon, Jay Rodriguez and Hal Robson-Kanu.
It’s the first time all three have started together and Pardew hinted at more to come.
"I wanted to send a message not just to the fans here but to the players: ‘Okay, we can play with three strikers and we can be positive and go for teams.
"Sometimes when you play with three strikers it doesn’t always work, but if we’d got a goal in the first 20 minutes, we might’ve kicked on from there.
"But we didn’t. So we’ll reflect on that.
“We showed signs with a lot of big players missing that were really encouraging.”
Pardew’s plans during the game were further hit by Gareth Barry leaving the action in the first half due to a thigh injury, which is not thought to be serious.
But that gave Claudio Yacob the chance to immediately impress the new gaffer in a midfield in which 18-year-old Sam Field’s third performance in a week also provided plenty of positivity for Pardew.
He said: “I thought Claudio was terrific when he came on and second half I was really impressed by his performance.
“And Sam has ticked some boxes in those three games. One is his quality, two is his endeavour and work-rate - it’s just what position is best suited to him.
“At times he had his back to goal and it didn’t look comfortable for him. It looks like he needs to come from deep and that’s why we changed his position…all those things we need to find out.
“I spoke to Gary [Megson] who brought him in for two games and he was terrific - fair play to Gary for picking him. Hopefully I will get the benefit of it because it’s three good performances.”