Garth Crooks on how West Bromwich Albion players could have saved Alan Irvine’s job

Alan Irvine was sacked as the West Bromwich Albion manager in December and was replaced by Tony Pulis.

Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Garth Crooks has been singing the praises of West Bromwich Albion’s defence on BBC Sport.

West Brom continued to progress and pick up points under manager Tony Pulis, as they edged past top-four-chasing Southampton 1-0 at home in the Premier League on Saturday.

The result at The Hawthorns against the Saints saw the Baggies take their tally of number of clean sheets this season to a club-record 11.

In fact, West Brom have not conceded a single goal in their last four competitive fixtures, a key reason behind their rise up to 13th in the Premier League table, eight points above the relegation zone.

Crooks is impressed with the defensive improvement in West Brom’s game under Pulis, but he wonders why the players did not show such quality and desire when Alan Irvine was in charge of the team.

“Foster was, of course, instrumental in keeping West Brom in the game against a Southampton side who always looked dangerous,” the 57-year-old wrote on BBC Sport.

“What a pity the West Brom players didn't show the same desire to keep clean sheets under previous incumbent Alan Irvine. He might have kept his job.”

While Crooks is entitled to his opinion, perhaps West Brom are better defensively now because Pulis has made them so.

Under Irvine, the football was disappointing and the results were dire. Although the Baggies are not very entertaining under Pulis, at least they are getting the results now.

Pulis knows how to get his message across to the players, and knows the kind of football that will keep a club like West Brom in the Premier League.

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