West Brom v Newcastle: Tony Pulis looking for 'rub of the green' in Magpies clash
Tony Pulis has told his West Brom players to retain belief after the worst run of results during his Albion tenure. West Brom's 1-0 defeat at struggling Swansea on Saturday made it five games without a win for the Baggies and left them three points from the Barclays Premier League drop zone.
But Pulis feels his side are not getting the rub of the green when it comes to refereeing decisions, and the Welshman insists he is still looking upwards rather than nervously over his shoulder.
"You put two or three results together and you're in the top 10," West Brom boss Pulis said ahead of today's home game with Newcastle, which has suddenly taken on the look of a six-pointer.
"That's how close this league is, it's close this year.
"It will ebb and flow and we haven't even reached halfway yet.
"We played really well at Swansea and we've got to keep going and keep believing."
Newcastle's visit marks the final game of Pulis' first year in charge at The Hawthorns as he was appointed on January 1.
It has been a largely progressive 12 months as survival specialist Pulis steered Albion away from relegation danger last season before guiding Albion into the top eight in October, but three successive draws and back-to-back defeats against Bournemouth and Swansea have left West Brom too close to the relegation zone for comfort.
"If you looked at the three games before we played Bournemouth and Swansea - Tottenham at home and Liverpool and West Ham away, they're all tough games," said Pulis.
"We played Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool - three of them away - and we got six points out of those games.
"So we were pleased with that.
"The last two games have been poor but they're such thin lines.
"We had two players sent off against Bournemouth and shot ourselves in the foot, but their penalty was outside the box and should not have been given.
"We should have had two penalties at Swansea and two against Leicester, but we have to get on with it."
After Newcastle, Pulis comes up against his former club Stoke before an FA Cup tie with Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City and then tough-looking away tests in the league at Chelsea and Southampton.
"I've told the players they've got to keep going because we can't think these (refereeing) decisions are pre-planned," Pulis said.
"That's not the case at all.
"We think they are bad decisions, but all we can do is make sure we're ready for Monday."