Belfast Telegraph

Foster - Brunt abuse is unfair

Ben Foster has hit back at West Brom fans and labelled their abuse of captain Chris Brunt "pathetic".

The Baggies were jeered off after their 2-0 defeat to Everton on Saturday with Brunt singled out after being substituted in the second half.

Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas - after mistakes from Jonas Olsson and Foster - left Albion winless in the Barclays Premier League.

They have also failed to score in their last three league games but Foster rounded on their critics and urged them to lay off Brunt.

"It's not needed. It is really silly. It doesn't help at all. It's pathetic, to be honest," he said.

"It is absolutely ridiculous that somebody who has been an incredible servant to this club for such a long time gets that.

"He always gives his all and he's somebody I would always have in the team.

"Brunty is everything we're about. He works his socks off. There's no need to boo somebody.

"If he very obviously wasn't putting it in or couldn't be bothered then fair enough, but that's not the case.

"Nobody likes that, I don't care who you are, whether you're the manager or the goalkeeper or centre-forward.

"If you're getting ridiculed and abused like that it affects you and there's no need for it.

"These are our supporters and we need them to support us and not do things like that.

"You can understand frustration but it's not like we're not trying. If that happens fans are well within their rights to do whatever they like.

"If they can see the club isn't putting it in and the players aren't working they can boo, but that's not the case."

Foster had recovered from a thumb injury to play and admitted his gaffe, when he let Mirallas' 25-yard effort under his body to seal Everton's win, was unacceptable.

"It was like a schoolboy mistake really. You have no one to blame but yourself," said the England goalkeeper.

"Now we've got to pick ourselves up because I thought we were doing well at that time.

"I went in and apologised to the lads because at the time I thought we were right in the game."

It was Everton's opening win of the season after Lukaku's first goal since he made a permanent £28million switch from Chelsea following last season's loan.

The Belgium international could start against Wolfsburg as Everton begin their Europa League campaign at Goodison Park on Thursday.

And after they kick-started their league campaign, boss Roberto Martinez insisted Europe remains a priority.

He said: "We had to work so hard for 38 games to achieve it so it would be nonsense or stupid to say we don't want to give it everything we've got.

"People understand making changes to the line-up doesn't mean you don't care about the competition. We want to go all the way in the Europa League.

"It's a really exciting period of games, it's an exciting group and we're not a team who is going to moan about the amount of games, we worked hard to be in this position.

"The squad is ready to be pushed to the limit but I think it's the only way we can fulfil our potential. I'm happy with the squad we have and the youngsters are working in a way that if they have to step up, they are ready."

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