OLE: BAD START, GREAT FINISH v BAGGIES
and Baggies boss Pepe Mel shrugged and shook hands with wry smiles. The points earned were no doubt less than both would have preferred, though the Bluebirds boss was clearly the happier man thanks to the last gasp equaliser, the first Premier League goal for substitute Mats Møller Dæhli.Ole Gunnar SolskjærThe exchange between managers at the end of Saturday’s survival battle at the Hawthorns summed up the ninety four minutes prior, as
"There is no point arguing between ourselves,” Ole said. “It was an exciting match and when it ends like that you can’t do anything but shake hands and smile. Our dressing room was by far the happier place at the end because we came back so well and earned a point. My players showed character and belief. They travelled home having earned their reward and we are still in with a chance. We really are.
“We scored three goals and didn’t have too many chances against us, during the second half in particular. After half-time we were in complete control. When West Brom scored their third I thought ‘That’s it’, but the lads have tremendous character in them. We deserved that third goal. We certainly did not deserve to lose. No chance.”
Ole however was far less happy with the opening twenty minutes from his squad, pulling no punches in his assessment on how the Baggies were allowed to race to a two goal lead within ten minutes.
“There were quite a few reasons we started poorly,” he explained. “We didn’t keep the ball well enough to start with in those early stages. Our aim was to turn West Brom defenders, but we ended up just putting the ball on the heads of their central defenders. That meant it came straight back at us. The team started really badly, I‘ve never seen us so pedestrian. We were almost spectators at times; we could have sat in the stands with the fans.
“We had to be patient and suck them in before we try to turn them Our early approach meant we were rushing too much. At 2-0 down we had nothing to lose and we relaxed. That’s when we started to play better.
“But our comeback from 2-0 and then 3-2 down to earn a point says everything about the team. The lads have been kicked in the teeth recently, but we kept going and battled to the end. We got the luck we feel we haven’t had lately. There have been matches when we have deserved the points and it would have been harsh had we lost at West Brom. Finally, we have the luck we felt we have earned.”
On Mats important first top flight goal, the last kick of the game he added, "Mats isn’t known for his scoring, but he has been staying behind after training to practice finishing. That worked for him, he has fantastic close control and he finished the chance really well.
“I was happy for the players and fans that we made it 3-3. That wasn’t anything to do with me. The players deserve huge credit and our fans behind Albion’s goal just about sucked the ball into goal. It was remarkable.
“There were over 2,600 of them out there and we were delighted to give them something to enjoy on the road. You have to remember that we’ve only had one away win in the league this season, but our remarkable fans continue to support us in great numbers away from home and we all want to reward them for that. We’ll try to do away at Southampton, though before that is an important home game against Crystal Palace who pulled off a great result of their own this weekend.
“It’s another big game next Saturday, and I hope to see our attendance record broken again. If we can win that one it pulls in another team around us, keeping us in contention. Our fans can play a big part in that, as will my players who will give everything.”