'Fear factor' making Premiership dull - Mowbray

November 23, 2006

West Brom boss Tony Mowbray claims the quality of football in the Barclays Premiership is being affected by the 'fear factor' and the threat of missing out on an even bigger financial jackpot next season via relegation.

Mowbray believes too many teams outside the top six are more concerned with not losing rather than trying to win games and are playing with a packed midfield and only one striker.

Clubs in the top flight can look forward to an extra 66% income from the 2007-08 campaign onwards via the new deals with the television companies.

Mowbray, whose promotion-chasing side visit Stoke on Saturday, said: 'I've seen plenty of Premiership football on the TV this season and there seems to be an argument that there is almost a fear factor in the Premiership this year.

'Take the top four to six teams out of the equation and anyone else could get relegated - and there is something like £40 million to be gained from being in the Premiership next season.

'It is too much money to lose and so a lot of teams are playing a little bit of fear football, a little bit of negativity.

'Everyone sees to be playing five players in midfield and one up front and setting out not to lose matches instead of trying to win them.

'Maybe the Championship is the place to watch your football with a lot of teams striving to get to that pot of gold and taking chances to try and achieve it, trying to score goals and to be positive rather than negative.'

Mowbray insists he would still look to adopt the same positive approach in the Premiership as he did in Scotland should the Baggies go up, although he is mindful of the importance of a sound defence.

He said: 'In Scotland when you are playing teams with quality players, you've got to be defensively set-up.

'The difference for me is having a plan to go and score a goal as well and to win the game.

'We would play Celtic and Rangers and be very defensively organised and do the work to prevent their best players getting on the ball.

'You do a lot of negative work to stay in the game but we always had a gameplan to go and score a goal and when we won the ball in certain areas people had the licence to break forward.

'That's why we took a lot of accolades in Scottish football with a type of game that wasn't perceived to be negative but there were times when the team was very defensively set-up to stay in the game.'

Mowbray is optimistic midfielder Zoltan Gera will be available for Saturday's clash at Stoke after a two game absence with a calf injury while Jonathan Greening will be back in contention after serving a one game ban for incurring five bookings.