Boss delighted to keep survival hopes alive

Last updated : 10 May 2009 By Iain Bate - Wba-mad Editor

Tony Mowbray praised his players for being brave enough to continue playing the beautiful game he’s renowned for – knowing anything but a win would relegate the Baggies back to the Championship. 

The Baggies boss’ judgement to play an expansive game against Wigan worked with a number of players excelling during the 3-1 victory thanks to a Marc-Antonie Fortuné brace and a rebounded penalty from Chris Brunt.

Mowbray gave Juan Carlos Menseguez a full Premier League debut with Dean Kiely also making his first start of the season after a training ground injury to Scott Carson.  The move paid off with Kiely coming to the rescue on a number of occasions – particularly in the first-half after a double wonder-save from Oliver Kapo stopped the Latics from equalising.

The vital win leaves Albion within only three points from safety with two games remaining after Hull’s miserable winless streak continued during their defeat against Stoke City.

"Great credit to this team for still trying to play their football - and still being brave enough to play it," Mowbray said.

"Today we got our rewards, like we did against Sunderland in our last home match.

"We didn't get our rewards against Tottenham last week when we deserved more from the game.

"We didn't get our rewards at Manchester City a couple of weeks before, either, and that's the frustration for me.

"We've done enough over the last couple of months to earn a lot more points and be in a lot healthier position - and yet we are where we are.

"Maybe the team growing into this league, as they are, is coming too late - we'll wait and see over the next two games.

"I think we rode our luck a little bit today.

"You have to give Wigan credit.

"They are a very good team and are as athletic a team as there is in this division.

"They are a big, strong team with very talented players.

"It was a bit of a risk to try and take them on in an open game but I felt Juan Carlos Menseguez, playing in that space behind their midfield, would hurt them, so we tried to make it an expansive game.

"We were flying by the seat of our pants at times but we were gambling to try and win.

"Wigan had enough chances to score more goals than they did - but we had chances to score more than we did.

"We sort of backed ourselves in a shoot-out to try and win this game.

"My own preference is to try and do that rather than keep it tight and get everybody behind the ball, make it a stalemate and try and nick a goal from a set-play.

"It paid off for us today and that's great credit to the players.

"I think the supporters of our club expect us to play in a certain way and I'm delighted for them we got the win."