Belfast Telegraph

Hodgson forgets relegation battle

Roy Hodgson believes West Brom can stop fearing being sucked into a Barclays Premier League relegation battle after demolishing Sunderland 4-0 at the Hawthorns.

Albion followed up their 5-1 win at Wolves with their first home win in three months thanks to goals from Peter Odemwingie (2), James Morrison and Keith Andrews. Victory moved them 11 points clear of the bottom three.

Hodgson said: "There are still 12 games to play and we will lose some of those because they are tough fixtures against a lot of teams above us. But it's an 11-point gap (over the bottom three) plus goal a better goal difference."

He added: "That is an awful lot of points. Our aim is to stay in this league for a third successive season but I don't think I need to be worrying too much about asking questions about relegation when we are effectively 12 points clear.

"There are 12 games left to play and all the teams at the bottom haven't got a point a game on average.

"They had better start getting more points than they have in the last 26 games otherwise they won't reach us."

Albion were always in command after Odemwingie's early goal against a Sunderland side revitalised under Martin O'Neill.

Hodgson said: "Sunderland are in the in-form team alongside Manchester City and Manchester United. We knew we were up against it. But luckily we started so well and got the early goal which eases the tension and we were able to gain a resounding win.

"That was largely because Sunderland had to throw caution to the wind in the second half and left themselves open to the counter-attack and we got the two extra goals.

"The tempo, passing and movement was good, we were intensive in our defending and if you do that, you give yourselves a chance to benefit from the confidence of the derby win at Wolves. We got a bit casual at 4-0 but that depends how much of a perfectionist you want to be."

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