Belfast Telegraph

Di Matteo defends Baggies

Roberto Di Matteo insists West Brom "are not a dirty team" despite their recent spate of red cards ahead of Wednesday's clash with West Ham at Upton Park.

The Baggies have had Pablo Ibanez, Gonzalo Jara and Youssouf Mulumbu sent off in their last two matches with Blackpool and Manchester City. Ibanez's was rescinded after Albion appealed but, in any case, Di Matteo is adamant his side try and play in the right manner.

He said: "Three of our players recently have been sent off. The Jara one was a bad (challenge) and the Pablo one has been rescinded. As for Mulumbu, he did not realise he had a previous yellow card. He would not have gone in like that if he had been aware of that first yellow card."

Di Matteo added: "But our disciplinary record has been very good before the last few games. We are not a dirty team at all. We are not."

Albion's form this season would suggest they should be favourites to collect points from Upton Park and another bottom-three side in Wigan at the weekend.

But Di Matteo said: "We have the second-lowest budget in the league so we are expected to win those games?

"West Ham have quality players and played very well on Saturday against Birmingham City. Upton Park is a very intimidating atmosphere at the best of times.

"The stadium is a hard place to visit and they will look at it as newly-promoted Albion going to Upton Park. But we are looking to bounce back. We have had two defeats and want to bounce back."

"We have played 11 games and lost four games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City, plus Blackpool where we were down to nine men. All I am asking from my players is to compete."

Jara serves the second game of his three-match ban for his red card against Blackpool while Mulumbu will be suspended for his dismissal against Roberto Mancini's side. Midfielder James Morrison is available after recovering from a knee injury and Steven Reid should be in contention after an Achilles problem, but Ishmael Miller (thigh) is out, with Nicky Shorey (ankle) doubtful.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph