History books come to Mowbray's help

Last updated : 27 January 2009 By Site Editor

Tony Mowbray has revealed how he's using famous Chinese military leader, Sun Tzu, to inspire his players before tonight's game against Manchester United.

Despite both teams struggling with a host of injuries Albion are widely regarded as the underdogs with Mowbray hoping to use ancient philosophies to inspire his troops and overcome Sir Alex Ferguson's men.

"I have read The Art of War and that kind of stuff," the Baggies chief revealed.

"I'm sure every football coach reads that kind of stuff but really it's just common sense and understanding the strategy of war.

"If you want to make a football match into a mini-war - not with the fighting but with the tactical battle - there are things that can be looked at and taken out of it.

"And yet sometimes you might win a tactical battle but still lose out on a set-play.

"Sun Tzu once said: 'You don't go to war on their terms'.

"You don't travel a 1,000 miles to fight an army that's just eaten a big dinner and had loads to drink, while you're out on your feet, because you'll get beaten.

"You've got to fight on your terms.

"The problem you've got in football is that good players sometimes just make the difference.

"We can't go and play like Stoke City, who deserve great credit for going to Anfield and getting a point and taking other points off the top sides.

"We haven't got the players to play the way they play."

The Baggies suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat back in October against United at Old Trafford although holding the English and European champions until the 56th minute. However, after Wayne Rooney's opener, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dimitar Berbatov and Nani all breached the Baggies back line to start a run of 10-games without a win.

"We had a go and for 56 minutes we were right in the game and were actually pretty good," the boss continued.

"Then the goals were scored by Rooney, Ronaldo, Berbatov and Nani and that just showed how their individual talent can undo you.

"I don't think it was the tactics that meant we lost 4-0 - it was a bit of individual quality and that's why their players win them football matches week in, week out."