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Di Matteo rift with Koren over

Sandwell | Sport | Published:

Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo has hinted that his rift with midfielder Robert Koren is a thing of the past as the two men close in on promotion.

Albion manager Roberto Di Matteo has hinted that his rift with midfielder Robert Koren is a thing of the past as the two men close in on promotion.

That news will delight Baggies fans eager to see Koren stay to play a big role in what looks more and more likely to be another Premier League campaign next season.

Koren scored twice in Albion's impressive 3-0 victory over Leicester yesterday which, regardless of all other results, leaves them now two wins from the top flight.

The goals and performance from the World Cup-bound Slovenian captain suggested that his early-season difficulties fitting in under Di Matteo, which came to a head with his angry substitution in the victory over Scunthorpe, were easing.

Di Matteo, referring to that touchline 'spat' with Koren back in February, joked: "I am going to fall out with Robert as much as I can - because I think his performances since that time have been absolutely brilliant.

"I think you will find he has started the majority of games since then. His future we will discuss at the end of the season. Let's leave it until then.

"But he's been playing tremendously well and chipping in with important goals.

"I'm very pleased for him. And the third goal was a great move, a great pass and a great run by 'Roko, with a very composed finish."

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Koren, for whom West Bromwich Albion have a year's option this summer, remains unflustered by the problems that have blighted this campaign but not prevented his proving just how valuable a player he is to the Baggies.

He said after yesterday's victory: "Things like this always happen in football, me and the manager do not agree on everything.

"That is part of the game, and the club is bigger than me or the manager, and we both want to do our best for the club."

The three points did not come without a cost. Both Jonas Olsson and Steven Reid are doubts for Monday's trip to Watford because of what Di Matteo described as "slight hamstring problems".

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But he has plenty of cover and was thrilled to also see James Morrison score a goal and complete his first 90 minutes of the season after a lengthy struggle against injury.

"It was a great strike by Mozza," said Di Matteo.

"I'm pleased for him because he's been out of the game for a long time.

"At times he was very frustrated. It was his first 90 minutes since coming back and it's good to see him pull it back."

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