Three positives for West Bromwich Albion despite defeat

Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United and Alan Pardew, Manager of West Bromwich Albion greet each other prior to the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester...

It's now 16 games without a win for West Bromwich Albion but there were signs of encouragement against Manchester United.

West Bromwich Albion's English midfielder Gareth Barry (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich...West Bromwich Albion's English midfielder Gareth Barry (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring their first goal during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich...

West Bromwich Albion slipped to 19th in the Premier League after their 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United. 

They could drop to the bottom of the table if Swansea City win at Everton tonight. Alan Pardew has picked up just two points from his opening four games as Baggies boss and quickly needs to get off the mark. 

After a morale boosting draw at Anfield last week, there were times against the Red Devils where West Brom showed that they have what it takes to get out of trouble. 

Here are three positives that Pardew can take from the United defeat: 

First goal under new regime

The Baggies finally scored their first goal under Pardew thanks to Gareth Barry's 77th minute strike. It gave Albion hope and they subsequently put United under pressure in the final ten minutes and they almost nicked a draw. 

Gareth Barry of West Bromwich Albion scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on December 17, 2017 in...Gareth Barry of West Bromwich Albion scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on December 17, 2017 in...

West Brom had gone three games without a goal and it was a monkey they quickly needed to get off their back. It should build more confidence going forward and encourage Baggies players to take more risks and commit more players forward.

Oliver Burke 

Oliver Burke made his first start of the season on Sunday and impressed, particularly in the second half. 

He struggled for most of the first half but when he did manage to get in behind, his pace and a dangerous cross caused United problems. After the break, he played a lot closer to Salomon Rondon and West Brom created more goal-scoring opportunities and the Scot adapted well in the role. 

Oliver Burke of West Bromwich Albion runs with the ball away from Jesse Lingard of Manchester United during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at...Oliver Burke of West Bromwich Albion runs with the ball away from Jesse Lingard of Manchester United during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at...

Burke was out of favour under Tony Pulis since joining for £15m in the summer but he showed bravery, good pace and there's no doubting his natural ability. Staying fit will be key as he has had niggling injuries but having him and the returning Nacer Chadli will give Pardew two creative outlets, something Albion have been lacking this term. 

Pardew himself

Pardew's performance on the day saw him show some of his qualities. During the game, his substitutions had an impact, particularly the introduction of Chris Brunt which saw Baggies put more crosses into the box and cause all sorts of panic amongst United defenders. 

Alan Pardew, Manager of West Bromwich Albion looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on December 17, 2017 in West...Alan Pardew, Manager of West Bromwich Albion looks on prior to the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on December 17, 2017 in West...

After the game, Pardew admitted in his interview with Sky Sports that he should have made a couple more changes to freshen up the side after their battling draw against Liverpool which is what he put West Brom's flat first half performance too. It was refreshing to see a manager publicly admit he made a poor decision but it shows he's quickly learning from his mistakes. Albion fans accused Pulis of being too stubborn with his tactics whereas Pardew is showing he can and will adapt. 

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