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Clean sheets are the key to Baggies survival: Allardyce

 

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Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce

PA

Sam Allardyce

West Bromwich Albion kept a clean sheet for the first time under Sam Allardyce on Saturday and the veteran manager believes they need at least eight more to retain their Premier League status.

The Baggies played for an hour with 10 men against Burnley at Turf Moor although it was the visitors who were disappointed with a goalless draw after Mbaye Diagne and Matheus Pereira missed gilt-edged opportunities.

Allardyce rued the absence of a cutting edge as the point earned does little for their survival prospects, but he suggested it is at the other end of the field that will determine whether their fate.

Allardyce, who is attempting to maintain a remarkable record of never being relegated in the top-flight, said: "I'm definitely optimistic that we'll go forward and get more positive results than negative results.

"We have to keep applying ourselves as well as we have done, be consistent in our performances and get a little bit better each game.

"We have to get more clinical in front of goal, that's the ultimate. The defensive side is getting better, we need to keep that nice and tight. If we get eight or nine clean sheets from the next 13 games, we'll have a chance."

While Burnley avoided defeat, they were unable to take advantage of Semi Ajayi's first-half red card and now sit just six points above the bottom three after Fulham's win over Sheffield United.

Injuries are mounting up and Jay Rodriguez became the latest worry after going off midway through the second half with a calf complaint while fellow striker Ashley Barnes' thigh problem meant he missed out altogether.

With Chris Wood already sidelined, Joel Mumbongo was the only substitute striker available to Sean Dyche, who introduced the 22-year-old Swede off the bench for the Rodriguez with less than 10 minutes to go.

Dyche said: "Joel Mumbongo is a young kid and it's his first look at football at this level."

Belfast Telegraph


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