West Brom boss Sam Allardyce has challenged his players to produce another “quality” performance this weekend against Burnley to show that the effort last time out did not come “just because it was Manchester United”.
The Baggies, who are 12 points adrift of safety in 19th place in the Premier League, drew 1-1 with United at the Hawthorns on Sunday, leading through an early Mbaye Diagne goal before Bruno Fernandes’ 44th-minute equaliser.
While Allardyce feels frustration that Albion did not win that contest, he has praised the display his side delivered.
West Brom now take on Burnley away on Saturday, then host Brighton and Newcastle before travelling to Crystal Palace – teams currently lying 15th, 16th, 17th and 14th respectively.
And Allardyce said: “I’m looking forward to the 90 minutes of quality that we can give, as we gave 90 minutes of quality against Manchester United.
“I’m really challenging the players – it’s not going to be a performance that high, is it, just because it was Manchester United?
“That’s my challenge to them – this performance you gave against Manchester United has to happen against Burnley on Saturday, it has to be just as good, and sometimes if possible even better. That’s the challenge to the players.”
He added: “I want to see if we’re proactive by the way we play, the level of performance we play against Burnley.
“And that will indicate to me whether we can only play to that level if we play one of the bigger sides and not one of the sides that’s in and around us – that for me would be a massive disappointment, if that happens on Saturday.”
West Brom have won only one of 11 league games since Allardyce succeeded Slaven Bilic in December, and none of their last six.
That has included a 2-2 draw with 18th-placed Fulham on January 30 and a 2-1 loss to rock-bottom Sheffield United three days later – both games in which they had the lead.
Regarding the Manchester United match, Allardyce – who brought in five signings in the January transfer window, including Diagne – said: “We should have beaten them. We had the better chances in the second half.
“But at least we are getting there, because at least we didn’t give silly goals away, and at least we are getting chances to score goals.
“Perhaps I’m asking for too much too soon, I don’t know. But I’ve got to keep driving the players forward and say ‘take full advantage of the opportunities you get’, because we need to, because we need to start winning.”