Belfast Telegraph

Irvine stands by midweek selection

Alan Irvine believes West Brom's 1-0 victory at Leicester vindicated his decision to rest 10 players for the Baggies' Capital One Cup defeat to Bournemouth in midweek.

West Brom were beaten 2-1 by the in-form Cherries last Tuesday but bounced back to claim a valuable three points at the King Power Stadium thanks to Esteban Cambiasso's second-half own-goal.

Irvine's selection demonstrates the club's focus on Barclays Premier League survival this season and the Baggies boss believes the rotation did pay dividends against the Foxes.

"I'm not satisfied with what happened on Tuesday night, I'm still hurting about that," Irvine said.

"But the fact is if we had played the same team and gone down to Bournemouth, perhaps gone to extra-time, we would have been risking problems at the end of this game against Leicester.

"Every time I turned round Nigel (Pearson) was putting on another forward and clearly we were going to be put under pressure if we were ahead.

"We needed players who were physically and mentally ready to cope with that and I thought they did really well.

"Had we lost here today I still would have felt it was the right decision (to rest players against Bournemouth)."

West Brom have now lost only once in their last six league games - a run that also included victories over Tottenham and Burnley.

After a disappointing start to the campaign, Irvine's side have turned their fortunes around and climbed to 10th in the table.

"We've got to a situation where we've had a proper group to train with and where everyone is starting to get to know each other," Irvine said.

"We've been able to get a settled team together and been able to get a lot of quality work done on the training ground.

"They're a great group to work with, they work really hard every day and they're starting to get the rewards for that.

"We're fortunate we have intelligent players who are able to follow the plan we have for each game."

The Baggies' upturn in form will be tested to the full in the coming weeks as they host in-form Newcastle before games against Chelsea and Arsenal.

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