Belfast Telegraph

West Brom manager Tony Pulis pleased with match-winner Salomon Rondon

West Brom boss Tony Pulis was full of praise for record signing Salomon Rondon after the striker notched his first Albion goal in Saturday's 1-0 win at Stoke.

On the same day the Baggies announced another major capture in Jonny Evans, £12million summer recruit Rondon, the Venezuela international bought from Zenit St Petersburg, got off the mark with a header in first-half stoppage-time.

And Pulis - who once again opted to omit Tottenham target Saido Berahino from his matchday squad - said: "Salomon scored a great goal. I'm really pleased with him.

"He is still not 110 per cent fit and he needs games, time, and the opportunity to get used to football in England.

"But his movement off the ball is first-class and his finish was very good."

After the contest - which was Pulis' first return to his old club Stoke and West Brom's maiden Premier League win of the season - it was confirmed Albion had completed the signing of Evans.

The Northern Ireland centre-half has joined from Manchester United on a four-year deal for what is understood to be an initial £6million, rising to £8million with add-ons.

Evans admits Baggies captain Darren Fletcher, the former United midfielder, was a big influence on his decision to sign.

The 27-year-old defender told "I spoke to Fletch regularly. I rang him just after he had made the move here from United (in February) and he said how much he was enjoying his football.

"When West Brom came in for me, it definitely had an influence on me. I was able to speak to Fletch quite a few times and he assured me he was still enjoying it."

Evans has not played for United this season, and he added: "I think there comes a time in everyone's career when it is good to have a new challenge and mine has come now.

"I think I'm at a good age where I can make an impact, and I wanted the opportunity to do that."

Saturday proved a far less constructive day for Stoke, who had two men sent off in the first half.

Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam were shown straight red cards in the 25th and 31st minutes respectively, the former having put his hand in the face of Craig Gardner and the latter seeming to stamp on Craig Dawson.

The Potters are still without their first league win of 2015-16, but boss Mark Hughes felt his side performed admirably for the hour they had only nine men.

"I don't recall ever being in that situation before and we are pleased with what we produced in the end under difficult circumstances," said Hughes, who took defender Glen Johnson off as a precaution in the second half with a tight groin.

"We were devastated we lost to opponents who we really felt, given 11 v 11, we would have beaten quite comfortably.

"We lost the game, but I'm still encouraged by what I saw."

Afellay echoed his manager in suggesting if he had to be sent off, so too did Gardner, who touched the Stoke playmaker on the face with his hand after tackling him before receiving a retaliatory slap.

Gardner was shown a yellow card and Afellay said: "If one had to be sent off then both of us should have been - or neither. Clearly the referee didn't spot that.

"I should have not reacted like that but I was reacting to what he did to me."

Meanwhile, Hughes has spoken about his decision to leave Potters forward Jonathan Walters out of Saturday's 18 amid problems in talks over a new contract and interest from Norwich.

"To involve him when his focus maybe isn't totally on the game would have been hard on some of the others," Hughes said.

"It's no fault of Jon's - there's a lot of noise around him. I just took the decision myself.

"We hope he will stay - our stance hasn't changed. He is still part of what we are trying to do. We will have to wait and see."


From Belfast Telegraph