'Leader's' return pleases boss

Last updated : 26 January 2012 By Iain Bate - Wba-mad Editor

Roy Hodgson has welcomed back Jonas Olsson insisting the giant Swede brings much needed leadership to his side.

The Swedish international returned from a three game absence with a calf injury and was instrumental in helping Albion record their first win at Stoke for almost 30 years.

Olsson’s three game absence with a calf injury coincided with Albion losing three consecutive games. Hodgson insists his absence was not to blame for the losing streak but welcomed back the experience and leadership he brings to the team.

“He takes the game by the scruff of the neck, he takes other people with him and he leads by example by winning tackles, getting his head on the ball and doing everything top centre-backs should do,” the Baggies boss said.

"I think that spreads to the others, but it would be rather unfair to criticise Craig Dawson, who stepped in for him for three games, because frankly he did very little wrong.

"If we analyse the defeats, it was 0-0 against Everton and then there was a mistake by Scharner which lost us the game in the last minute, then we lost 1-0 against Tottenham with a very good performance by the centre-backs, Dawson included.

"Then we had the 2-1 defeat against Norwich but we should have had three penalties in that game.

"There were three of the clearest penalties I've ever seen.

"There was the one when the centre-back pushed Cox with both hands and one where the same centre-half caught Thomas' standing foot and tripped him in the box.

"If we'd got those penalties and won the game 3-2 that would have been another three points, so there are lots of things like that to consider.

"But Jonas is a very important player for the club.

"He's a very good player in his position and he's a leader so when he's not playing we sometimes miss that type of leadership, desire and will to win that rubs off on the others.

"But it's a little bit unfair to say we win with him and we don't win without him because that's not really been the case.

"He's not a goalscorer and it's not really been the fact that we've let in loads of goals and given opponents loads of chances.

"I would say in the last 12 games of last season, when we bagged an enormous amount of points and lifted ourselves up to mid-table, we probably conceded far more goal chances per game than we have this season - but they weren't going in."

Should Jonas Olsson be made captain in the absence of Chris Brunt? Have your say here at Baggies Banter