West Brom boss Tony Pulis admitted he was staggered by the decision to play Premier League games on transfer deadline day.
January 31 is often a hectic time for clubs as they look to tie up signings that could make a difference for the rest of the season but several top-flight managers were forced to divert attention away from the transfer market to focus on their latest match.
Pulis was able to complete the loan signing of defender Marc Wilson before the 11pm deadline – after watching his Baggies side claim a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough – but he could not see the reasoning for having to play a game on such a pivotal day.
He said: “The window for me is crazy. I’d go back to the open market, it is just a crazy situation. To have it on the final day and arrange games is just astonishing really.”
Pulis’ side took the lead inside six minutes at a wet and windy Riverside when former Boro academy product James Morrison rifled home a first-time shot after the hosts had failed to clear their lines.
But the former Stoke manager was disappointed by the decision to award Middlesbrough a penalty 11 minutes later after Gareth McAuley lunged in and brought down Marten de Roon, with Alvaro Negredo slotting home.
Nevertheless, Pulis felt his team would have been worthy winners after Matt Phillips and Salomon Rondon struck opposite posts in the space of seconds – although their opponents dominated possession and could have nicked all three points themselves.
“We started well, we got the nice early goal to settle us down,” Pulis said. “I don’t think it’s a penalty looking at it in slow motion, I think Gareth does touch the ball but Gareth shouldn’t have slid in anyway, the kid was going away from goal.
“And that changed it a little bit and knocked us back in the first half. But second half I felt we were the team that were eventually going to win the game.
“We created two great opportunities. We had the opportunities and the chances.”
The signing of Wilson from Bournemouth until the end of the season provides Pulis with some defensive cover following the injury to Jonny Evans – who has missed Albion’s last four matches with a calf complaint but could be back for the clash against Stoke at the weekend.
Pulis said: “We’re hoping Jonny will be fit for Stoke on Saturday. But if Jonny misses out and one of our centre-halves gets injured then Marc can slot into there. We haven’t got anyone else really.”