Irvine frustrated by fringe players


Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Alan Irvine claimed he sent a “team full of first-team players” into West Brom’s 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat at Bournemouth.

The West Brom boss defended the decision to make 10 changes to his starting line-up that backfired in the defeat to the Sky Bet Championship side at Dean Court.

Eunan O’Kane and Callum Wilson fired Bournemouth to their first-ever League Cup quarter-final, despite Tommy Elphick’s own goal briefly levelling the scores.

Boss Irvine slammed his Albion fringe players for wasting their chance to impress, admitting his side failed to make their quality count.

“It was a team full of first-team players, who train as a first-team group every day,” said Irvine.

“They need to grab those opportunities and get the benefit of a game like that as well.

“We have a squad of players who are all Premier League players, they are players who are all at a high level.

“It wasn’t a team of kids put out there: it was a team that if played to the best of their ability they should have got a result.

“It was an opportunity for a number of our players who have been desperate for a game to go out and play well and show me they should be in contention for the Premier League games.

“Some of them did but not enough of them.

“I’m fully aware of Bournemouth’s quality.

“I said prior to this that this would be an extremely difficult game, and that’s how it turned out.

“But I’m not hanging any players out to dry: not enough played well and there are a number capable of better.

“Some players did themselves a favour, some didn’t.”

Delighted Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe hailed his players for shrugging off Albion’s late equaliser, Wilson almost immediately racing up the other end to fire the winner.

Howe claimed the decisive strike when Bournemouth saw off Albion 1-0 in the FA Cup third round in 1999.

The former Cherries defender admitted managing the club to a Premier League giant killing proved the more exhilarating feeling.

“We really didn’t want extra time,” said Howe.

“It really pleased me we had the mentality to stay strong, score and see out the game.

“That shows how strong we are.

“Nothing beats this feeling; not that win against Albion I played in.

“When you score a goal as a player it’s an unbelievable feeling.

“But after some dark days for the club in the past, to be in a quarter-final, is fantastic.”

If Irvine was left to defend his 10 changes, Howe was being hailed for making the same number of alterations from the line-up that blitzed Birmingham 8-0 on Saturday.

“The guys who have been out of the team have shown a great attitude, have been very professional,” said Howe.

“I don’t think we’d have performed so well if we had people sulking or losing interest.

“I had it in my mind I was always going to make the changes.

“When you haven’t been at this stage of the cup before, you don’t care who you get.

“We’d love a home game, but who we get at home, we’ll take whoever.”

Bournemouth’s Russian owner Maxim Demin was once again conspicuous by his absence, with Howe admitting he abides by his boss’ idiosyncratic superstitions.

“He thinks he’s some kind of jinx so he finds it hard to watch us and I’ve been trying to convince him to come,” said Howe.

“He asked me to text him a specific thing at a particular time ahead of the match, and I did.

“He’s been instrumental in helping turn this club around.

“When I came back to the club two years ago the immediate target was to stay up (in League One).

“We managed to win promotion that season which was a surprise.

“Last season we’d have accepted finishing fourth bottom in the Championship, but we finished 10th.

“Now it’s about improving performances as much as league position.”

Published: Wednesday 29th October 2014 by The News Editor

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