Moore brings light relief to Albion
With Darren Moore at the helm after Alan Pardew’s exit, West Bromwich Albion ended a run of eight consecutive defeats and possibly deserved more than a point against a Swansea side whose performance strangely lacked ambition.
Swansea are on the brink of making themselves safe – a scenario that seemed highly unlikely when Carlos Carvalhal took over in December. Yet despite Albion’s poor run of form they seemed fearful of breaking into attack in case they gave the ball away.
Only when Jay Rodriguez raised the prospect of a rare win for the home side, by scoring early in the second half from a poorly defended cross – arguably a goal that might have been ruled out for a handball in the build-up – did Swansea come to life.
“I think that was a consequence of the last two games, against Tottenham and Manchester United, when we played a lot of the time without the ball,” Carvalhal said. “We have six games left, four at home, and the next time we will play more like we did when we conceded the goal. Today was not the way we play.”
Nonetheless, after 100 days in charge the Portuguese has a record of 19 points from 12 matches and they may need no more than five or six more to be safe.
Survival is probably a fanciful target for Albion now, although first-team coach Moore, a popular figure within the dressing room and on the terraces, declined to talk about the possibility of being the man to plot their return should they start next season in the Championship. Indeed, he does not want to discuss taking the manager’s job, whichever division they are in.
“I have the qualifications to the job but my title is first-team coach and I enjoy the job,” he said.
“The crowd created a great atmosphere and I was proud to be in the technical area, representing the club. I am just thinking game by game, there is no time to worry about the job long-term.
“I was really pleased with how the players responded. It was good to see the things we worked on being executed on the pitch.”
Nonetheless, he would have been disappointed with the manner of Swansea’s equaliser, conceded from a needlessly conceded corner headed home by a poorly marked Tammy Abraham with 15 minutes left.
“I will look at it but I refuse to be disappointed about it because of the response of the players when they conceded,” he said. “They took control again and showed a lot of composure and resilience and that brought a warmth to me.”
With only five matches remaining and a 10-point gap to overhaul, however, such moments are likely to be fleeting consolation. And given the number of players coming to the end of contracts or with relegation release clauses they can trigger, whoever is in charge next year faces a major rebuild. West Brom (4-1-4-2) Foster 7; Nyom 7, Dawson 7, Hegazi 7, Gibbs 6; Brunt 6; Phillips 7, Livermore 6, Rodriguez 8 (Krychowiak 83), McClean 6; Rondon 6. Subs Myhill (g), Yacob, Burke, McAuley, Harper, Leto. Booked Brunt, Phillips, McClean. Swansea City (3-4-3): Fabianski 7; Van der Hoorn 6 (Bartley h-t), Fernandez 6, Pawson 7; Naughton 6, King 6 (Dyer 61), Carroll 7, Olsson 6; Ayew 7 (Ki Sung-yueng 85), Abraham 8, Clucas 6. Subs Mulder (g), Narsingh, Routledge, Roberts. Booked Clucas, Bartley. Referee Roger East (Wiltshire).
Late rally: Tammy Abraham heads home Swansea’s equaliser with 15 minutes to go after it had looked as if West Brom would end their barren run with a muchneeded victory