West Bromwich Albion rock Gareth McAuley today claimed the “feel-good factor” was back at The Hawthorns after a chaotic winter.
The Northern Ireland defender reckons the Baggies’ return to winning ways has drawn a line under a traumatic month for the club.
Albion ended an eight-game winless run with victory at Liverpool just three days after striker Peter Odemwingie struck a peace deal with the Baggies following a disruptive January where the striker was linked with Queens Park Rangers.
Goran Popov was also forced to apologise after being sent off for spitting while Albion boss Steve Clarke had to cope with a host of injuries.
And centre-back McAuley said: “We needed to get the feel-good factor going again.
“There’s been a lot of things being talked about and we wanted to get a result and start talking about football again.
“We needed to move on and draw a line under everything.
“We have 12 games to go until the end of the season and we need to win as many of those as we can.
“We’ve got the lads back on the park again. We’ve got players fit and hopefully we can go out and pick up some results now.”
Monday’s game saw boss Clarke reunited his first-choice trio of Youssouf Mulumbu, Claudio Yacob and James Morrison in the centre of the Baggies’ midfield.
And McAuley believes they are key to the remainder of the season with the 33-year-old still confident Albion can beat last season’s 10th-place finish and the haul of 47 points.
“We know they’re important players for us and we missed them when they weren’t in the team,” said McAuley.
“Getting them back together was important but we were focused and determined.
“We knew a win would put us above Liverpool and it was all about getting a result.
“It’s still the same targets we’ve had from the beginning of the season, which were to finish higher than we did last year and with more points than we did last year. That’s the focus. We’ve got 12 games left and we need to win as many of those as we can.”