West Bromwich Albion has two potentially season-defining matches ahead and the club decidedly took the worst route toward entering that stretch in style.
The Baggies were absolutely hammered by league-leading Manchester City on Tuesday, a 5-0 loss that left Sam Allardyce late for his postgame media duties as he cleared the air with his players in the locker room for a while.
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“We didn’t want to linger on it and not put it to bed straight away,” Allardyce said. “Some of the things we talked about were not so easy or pleasant to hear but it needed to be said straightaway to force home exactly where they are and where they’ve got to do — all they possibly can. I’ve come back to do everything I want to do. I can give everything I want to give. It’s very difficult under COVID circumstances but we’ve got to do the best we possibly can a lot quicker than we are now.”
West Brom is 19th with 11 points, six back of 17th-place Brighton who has played one more match. They are a point back of Fulham and six ahead of basement-dwelling Sheffield United.
Next up? Fulham at the Hawthorns and Sheffield United away.
Allardyce has famously never been relegated but his team is barely better off points-per-game wise than they were when Slaven Bilic was fired, and their goals per game is down and goals allowed per game is up (See: thing No. 3, here).
Bad, bad vibes.
“It shocked me today,” Allardyce said. “I thought we were over performances like that. Seeing what we did today was upsetting for me. I didn’t think I’d see a performance like that again. It appears we have a bit of a problem here at the Hawthorns cause if you look at the performances away, the lads stuck to the tasks, got forward when they could. Yet here Leeds, Arsenal, and now Manchester City, it’s not happening at the Hawthorns and I just can’t put my finger on it. No fans at home, no fans away.”
New Baggies midfielder Robert Snodgrass had plenty to say to television cameras after the game.
The question he was asked is, “What went wrong?”
His answer came quickly.
“Everything,” he said. “To be honest, individual mistakes certainly didn’t help playing against a top-class organization. They had a good game plan and organization. They’re a good side, they play overloads… it’s difficult right now, absolutely gutted in my heart. … Everyone needs to be better as a team. We’ve gotta roll our sleeves up fight and scratch. We need to pick ourselves and get up for the Fulham game which is going to be the six-pointer cliche.”