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Frustrated boss Steve Bruce promises summer of change at West Brom

West Bromwich Albion v Blackburn Rovers – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Steve Bruce described West Brom’s 3-1 defeat to Stoke as “frustrating” as they missed the chance to cut the gap to the play-offs.

Jake Livermore’s own goal and Jacob Brown’s header put the Potters into a two-goal lead before Lewis Baker’s stoppage-time goal secured the points after Callum Robinson had pulled one back.

The Baggies’ play-off chances are slim after results elsewhere mean they are now eight points behind the top six with five games remaining.

After beating Bournemouth on Wednesday, West Brom were not at their best and Bruce vented his frustration.

“It encapsulates my first eight weeks here, that’s for sure, and it’s frustration for us all,” Bruce said.

“The first two goals we gave away are something I never saw coming because we’re usually rock solid in that department.

“In the first half we passed the ball slowly and never really had any penetration at all in the forward areas. It’s another frustrating afternoon and it’s unfortunately happening too often and it’s why we are where we are.

“You have to have the ability to go again in the Championship, because that’s what it demands. It looked like we didn’t look right from kick-off.

“It’s the level of how we go up and down so quickly, that’s the real frustrating part for me.”

Bruce hinted at a summer of change following the Baggies’ 14th league defeat of the season, in what looks like another campaign in the Championship.

“With five games remaining, we’ve got to finish as high as we possibly can. We are where we are and that’s never going to be accepted – to be mid-table in the Championship – and rightly so.

“We haven’t been good enough. After 41 games, the table doesn’t lie and many performances like that are the reason we are where are right now.

“We’re verging on a major overhaul really. I think it’s required because the club is never going to accept being halfway in the Championship.

“There’s always the question to be asked (resources for an overhaul). We’ve spent a lot of money in the past but in this division you can do some wheeling and dealing. You can still change the squad around.”

After seeing his side earn their first away win in eight, Stoke boss Michael O’Neill was pleased with the reaction from Tuesday’s defeat to Reading and how they dealt with West Brom’s threats with the likes of Andy Carroll and Grady Diangana.

“I’m delighted. It was a good response,” O’Neill said.

“I was disappointed with Tuesday and today was a good reaction from the players. We knew what we would face here today and we dealt with it extremely well.

“We played some terrific football at times and deserved to be ahead. One-nil wasn’t a fair reflection on the first half, I thought we should have scored more.

“The second goal gives us a cushion but our reaction when it went to 2-1 was the most pleasing aspect for me because we showed good mentality and created two great chances. Thankfully we took one to take the pressure off.”

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