Albion defender Gareth McAuley today admitted the Baggies must do more to get the best out of star summer signing Nicolas Anelka.
The Frenchman played out a low-key debut in Saturday’s 1-0 opening-day defeat to Southampton after hitting seven goals in seven pre-season appearances.
But McAuley is adamant the 34-year-old will come good once Steve Clarke’s side learn to play to his strengths.
“He has been all over Europe and played in lots of different teams, leagues and styles of play,” said McAuley, the Baggies’ reigning player of the year.
“So I think he will probably adapt to us. But we need to get the ball to him a lot better, a lot quicker and in the right areas of the pitch so he can do damage for us.
“We weren’t at our best on Saturday. We were sluggish but we stayed in the game and defended when we had to, especially in the first half.
“It was a pretty even game and probably wasn’t much of a spectacle but it can be a bit tentative in the early stages of the Premier League. So we’ve got to take our medicine and get the work done and move on.”
Albion head for Everton on Saturday for their second game of the season with McAuley insisting they are “hurting” after the loss to the Saints.
But the Northern Ireland international is backing Clarke’s men to respond.
“We’re hurting,” he said. “It’s never nice to lose a game, but to lose one to a penalty in the 90th minute when you’re not sure it’s a clear-cut as the referee thinks is even worse.”