Relegation run-in

Mowbray dreams of Great Escape after win

April 26, 2009

Tony Mowbray has admitted West Bromwich Albion will have to win their remaining four matches to have a realistic chance of repeating their Great Escape heroics of four years ago.

The Baggies boss targeted a maximum haul of points from the final five games and that sequence began in impressive style with a 3-0 home win over Sunderland yesterday.

Goals from Chris Brunt, Jonas Olsson and substitute Juan Carlos Menseguez ended Albion's 11-game winless run.

They are still anchored at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table but Mowbray will not give up hope until it is mathematically impossible for his team to survive.

Mowbray said: ''I think that result has given us a glimmer of hope. Of course, if we lose next week at Tottenham, and the teams around us get results, it's going to be very close to being over for us and a pipe dream.

''But if we win at Tottenham and a few results go our way, then you are looking at Wigan at home, and if we can win that you never know.

''It is right we keep believing, that we give the fans a little bit of hope, and that our season can be extended in terms of having something to play for.

''I am not shouting from the rooftops that West Brom are going to stay up, but I am not being pessimistic either as I never have been.

''We've got four games to go and we have got to be as competitive in all of them.''

He added: ''I am not a negative guy and you have to shield the players from the negativity that has surrounded our plight. We have been written off.

''I am not the guy who uses the siege mentality thing because, in reality, it looked as if we would have to win our final five games starting with Sunderland - and why could we do that when I don't think we have ever won three on the bounce?

''For me, it is about the next game. I don't want to look at the bigger picture. It is very difficult for us and yet I am not going to say we are definitely going down or we are back in the hunt. Let's just keep going.''

Mowbray praised the contribution of the fans who have stayed positive and not turned on the team despite their dismal run of results.

''I am delighted with the fans,'' he continued. ''Again they filled the stadium out, have supported us all season.

''They don't enjoy losing week in and week out and yet they do see decent performances and they know we probably deserve more than we have got this season.

''There are not many clubs in our current plight where the stadium would be bouncing. They are right behind the team, there are no empty seats anywhere and they are vocally right behind their side.

''It is amazing to me, fantastic to me, and they deserve credit. We are all disappointed but the fans hide it very well.''

Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia is aware his side can ill afford any repeat of their limp performance against Albion if they are to stay clear of the bottom three.

He said: ''I can't explain the performance. We've got all to play for and we looked disinterested.

''We've got to get back on track and make sure we are much more committed against Everton on Saturday, show a bit more determination and belief and play as a team.

''We need to make sure we get more points. It is nervous down there at the bottom. We have a bit of a cushion but the gap can close.

We will look at the video of this on Monday, where we went wrong. It wasn't acceptable and we got exactly what we deserved - and that was absolutely nothing.''