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Alan Irvine responds to criticism at West Brom

Sport | Published:

Defiant West Brom boss Alan Irvine insisted his second-half substitutions almost paid off after he was criticised by fans during his side's 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal.

Irvine's decision to take off Stephane Sessegnon was booed with some fans singing "you don't know what you're doing".

It was the loudest backlash so far against the Scot, who is under pressure after three straight defeats and more than five hours without a Premier League goal for his team.

But he said: "It's not nice to hear it. People have their own opinions but, in actual fact, it very nearly worked.

"We really looked as if we might score when, perhaps, we didn't look like we might score too many times prior to the changes.

"It very nearly worked and had it done perhaps people would have had a different judgement at the end."

Irvine bemoaned a second-half decision to flag Saido Berahino offside when the score was goalless, before Danny Welbeck's header sealed the Gunners' win.

Replays showed Berahino had timed his run perfectly. Irvine said: "We certainly got close to getting something.

"We were committing a lot of men forward and we put Arsenal under a lot of pressure at the end.

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"I felt we started the game well and Arsenal looked a threat on the counter-attack in the opening 15 or 20 minutes, but we lost that control and they gained control.

"We started the second half OK, there was a big decision early in the second-half which could have made a difference and then the goal gave us a lot to do.

"We nearly got something out of the game in the end in that last 15 or 20 minutes.

"We gad Arsenal very much on the back foot, we hit the bar, we've had a number of shots that have been blocked and some resulted in corners, so we may have got something out of it in the end.

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"That's two weeks in a row now – two big decisions that have been wrong against us.

"People make mistakes but we could do without them, because it doesn't half make the job against teams like Chelsea and Arsenal an awful lot more difficult and everybody knows how crucial the first goal is.

"Saido had found himself in a very similar position to the one he found himself in against Manchester United and you fancy him when he gets into that position.

"Again, it was bitterly disappointing."

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