Belfast Telegraph

Berahino blasts criticism

West Brom striker Saido Berahino believes he is being unfairly singled out for criticism and given "a bad name".

His winner in Saturday's 1-0 Barclays Premier League triumph over Hull at The Hawthorns took Berahino's goal tally for Albion this season to 14 in all competitions, but there have been questions over his attitude.

The 21-year-old, who is due to appear at Runcorn Magistrates Court on January 19 after being charged with drink driving, drew attention for not celebrating any of his four goals in last weekend's 7-0 FA Cup victory over Gateshead.

Having insisted on that occasion he was just "acting professionally", he then made no secret of his delight when he fired home in the 78th minute against Hull, running to the touchline with his arms spread and a big smile on his face.

And when asked if he had been making a point with that celebration, Berahino said: "Of course, because last week what was said was rubbish. I don't understand why people were having a go at me for not celebrating.

"It is not in the rules that you've got to celebrate when you score. Loads of players don't celebrate when they score.

"But I'm always the one getting blamed and picked out at West Brom. I just smile at it and keep my mouth shut.

"I just think everyone now, because I'm almost a target out there, is trying to bring a bad name to me.

"I think the people who put me down, they don't know me. I don't understand why certain things are written about me.

"To all my fans out there, I'm just trying to enjoy my football, make everyone happy, keep forward and maybe one day achieve my dreams."

The England Under-21 international, recently part of the senior Three Lions squad, has been linked with Liverpool and Tottenham and while West Brom boss Tony Pulis wants to keep Berahino - and has received no bids for him - he has admitted every player has their price.

Berahino himself has "big ambitions" but has reiterated his determination to remain focused despite transfer speculation.

"I'm just playing and enjoying my football," the frontman said.

"Obviously I have big ambitions but at the moment I'm a West Brom player, I'm enjoying my football and I'm contributing goals so I'm happy.

"I don't know what he (Pulis) is thinking, but this time (the transfer window) is a difficult one.

"Everyone is playing a game of chess so I'm just enjoying my football, letting my football do the talking for me and concentrating on what I'm doing on the pitch.

"Obviously there are always rumours going around but, I can't control that. All I can control is what I'm doing on the field, and the rumours keep travelling around."

Pulis did emphasise after the Hull match that, in his ideal world, this transfer window would see him bring in a striker to play alongside Berahino rather than to replace him.

The head coach, who was overseeing his first Premier League game in charge of West Brom on Saturday following his January 1 appointment, said: "I'm not going to say we are not going to sell him because if a stupid offer comes in I would look stupid if I said I'm not going to sell him.

"But I'll tell you this - we are looking for another striker, and if we get another striker in and we keep him that will make my day.

"We are desperate to get in another striker to go with him."

Albion rose from 17th to 14th in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone, with Saturday's victory.

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