West Brom boss: ‘Brilliant’ Berahino remains on penalty duty

Ian Watson

Tony Pulis backed Saido Berahino to find the net should West Brom be awarded another penalty against Arsenal on Thursday.

The striker’s turbulent season took another downward turn on Saturday when he had two penalties saved by Heurelho Gomes in Watford’s 1-0 victory.

But Berahino remains on penalty duty and Pulis has seen no ill effects from his difficult afternoon.

“He has been brilliant. He has been as good as gold,” said the Baggies manager.

“He missed two penalties. Everybody does it. The boy wanted to pick the second one up and take that one and he has missed that one.

“He will pick the next one up and take that as well and hopefully he will smash it into the back of the next.

“It’s all character-building for him. He is a tremendous player. This year has been very much a rollercoaster season for him and things have happened to him that have never happened in his career before, but you dust yourself down and move on.

“The kid has been in there and the chances he has missed mean he will get stronger, but he won’t stop going in there. He is that type of character.”

Saido Berahino: Had two penalties saved by Huerlho Gomez

West Brom have picked up only one point from their last four games but might have taken something in defeats by both Manchester City and Watford.

They are not mathematically safe from relegation yet but, with a gap of 10 points to the bottom three with five games left, the danger is minimal.

While the Baggies’ thoughts might soon be turning to the beach, the same cannot be said of their opponents, with Thursday’s match followed by a trip to title-chasing Tottenham on Monday, and European hopefuls West Ham and Liverpool still to come.

Pulis said: “The aim has to be to get as many points as we can. The next two games are going to be tough.

“I am desperate to get to the next stage and the next stage. And as we have seen, we have played well enough in the last two games to pick points up and not got points.

“It’s a relentless league. Unfortunately in the last couple of weeks it has dropped against us.”

The Welshman insisted there is no lack of motivation, saying: “If you look at the stats, the running stats against Manchester City and against Watford were fantastic.

“The Watford game I think we covered more distance than we have all season. But if you don’t put the ball into the net you don’t win games.

“We have had opportunities in both games to score goals and we have missed those chances.”

Arsenal’s title hopes have long since faded and the Gunners are now facing a fight to qualify for the Champions League.

Manager Arsene Wenger has again been the target for unhappy supporters, but Pulis defended the record of his old adversary.

“Arsenal can beat any team in Europe on their day,” said Pulis. “And I think Arsene has been incredibly unlucky with injuries this season. He has missed big players at important times.

“Once all those players are fit, he has got a strong enough squad to win this league. He will be disappointed with the inconsistency but all the other clubs will be saying the same thing, apart from Leicester and Tottenham.”