West Brom boss Sam Allardyce says he was “shocked” by the manner of his struggling side’s 5-0 Premier League defeat to Manchester City, which led to a dressing room inquest which lasted an hour at the Hawthorns.
The former England, West Ham and Bolton boss says a “few home truths” needed to be said, with Albion second from bottom of the table and seven points from safety ahead of Wednesday night’s games.
Two goals from İlkay Gündoğan, plus strikes from João Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling took City top of the table for the first time this season, though head coach Pep Guardiola has put a lid on any talk of winning the title, urging his players to “be calm”.
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Allardyce’s team have one win in 10 top flight matches, stretching back to when his predecessor Slaven Bilic was in charge, and have crucial fixtures coming up next against fellow strugglers Fulham and Sheffield United, but he won’t accept another performance like their display against City.
"A few home truths needed to be said, it had to be done now because there's a short period of time before the next game," said Allardyce.
"These next two games really stand high in what we need to do. I needed to get my feelings to the players out of the way. They needed to air their views, which is fine as we are all in it together.
I was disappointed in the performance and to get it out the way means we can learn from it and we don't see it again. I can accept defeat but not like that.
Allardyce believes their next two matches will be key to whether they stay in the Premier League: "What will determine our fate comes in the next two games. A win and a draw is the least we have to try to get.
"We have got to work out what it is, playing at home. There's no pressure from the fans so we have to work out what."
For City, top of the table at least until Manchester United play Sheffield United on Wednesday evening, it’s now 11 wins in all competitions, but Guardiola says it’s far too soon to think about lifting any silverware.
"The last thing I'm thinking of is the table. Now I want to come back home safely, have a few days off and Sheffield United is all I'm concerned about”, he said.
We still have 19 games to go in this incredible marathon. We are going to drop points and lose games but the important thing is to be calm, like we were when we were 12th in the table and understand why we didn't win that game and immediately win the next one.
"This is all I'm concerned about now. It's the Premier League, it's so tough for everyone. You know it's competitive but we have had a good run.”
City face Sheffield United next, before trips to Burnley and champions Liverpool.
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