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Jonny Evans: Tony Pulis handled 40 points 'nonsense' perfectly

Sport | Published:

Jonny Evans says Tony Pulis's measured response to back-to-back defeats gave Albion the confidence needed to stun Arsenal.

The Baggies boss called a special team meeting after the 3-0 defeat away at Everton to remind his players how much they had achieved this season and urge them to ignore any outside influence.

Albion and Pulis had come under scrutiny after losing two games in a row as soon as they reached the 40-point mark, but on Saturday two Craig Dawson headers and a poacher's finish from Hal Robson-Kanu gave them a huge scalp.

"We knew people were questioning us and people would be throwing out 'they've slackened off since they got to 40 points', 'they're on the beach' and all that nonsense," said Evans.

"The manager brought us in on Monday and we all thought we were going to get a dressing down about the last two games but he didn't.

"He just put them aside and said 'we've got 10 games to go, let's go and enjoy them, pick ourselves up and go at them'.

"I thought it was excellent the way he did that. As players you might think about the last two games but he just put it to the side and just carried on and we picked ourselves up."

Pulis heaped praise on his squad for proving the doubters wrong, and explained that they needed some words of encouragement to stay focused.

"It was just a case of saying 'Listen, we've done absolutely fantastic this season and even if we lose the next three or four they've still done brilliantly'," said Albion's head coach.

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"They do listen to the media and social networks and things like that and there was a little bit of criticism going about. I just wanted to clear their mind."

Evans admitted the team had under-performed against Crystal Palace in their last game at The Hawthorns.

"It's human nature sometimes," he said, "We were on a good run and it's not always possible to keep that up. Then you go away to Everton, who are a very good side,

"But it was important to put that right and we've worked hard all week. We were fairly confident going into the game."

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Albion only had 23 per cent possession but they had four times as many shots on target as the Gunners, and the team were confident they would threaten from corners.

"Sometimes you've got a psychological feeling going into a game and especially from set-pieces," said Evans.

"Dawson scored two and we worked on that in training. We knew he'd have a free run into the box and 'Daws' is very good in the air.

"They play a zonal defence from corners. So sometimes the lads on the six-yard box try to get a block in to stop the player getting a run.

"But Daws seemed to have plenty of space. They probably didn't defend that as well as they should have."

Arsenal fans flew two planes over The Hawthorns on Saturday, one in favour of Arsene Wenger and one in protest against him, but Evans confirmed the Baggies were unconcerned by that sideshow.

"I didn't even know," he said. "We weren't aware of that but you're playing against a very good side and no matter what type of Arsenal performance you get you know you're going to have to run a lot and be fully focused.

"Even in my time at Manchester United they were one of those teams that could always punish you if you weren't playing 100 per cent in a defensive manner in terms of staying with runners.

"You have to make sure there were no lapses in concentration."

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