Tony Pulis: Nacer Chadli paid the price for missing pre-season
Record signing Nacer Chadli has paid the price for missing pre-season, according to Tony Pulis.
The Belgian has only started two Albion games so far this season and has complained afterwards that he feels he is operating at 60 per cent.
Pulis is unsurprised following a fractured pre-season that included Chadli’s refusal to go on a training camp in Austria followed by subsequent transfer speculation before the window shut.
Albion’s head coach is under pressure at the moment, and says he would like to get Chadli in his starting line-up.
But the former Spurs man has remained an unused substitute for the past two Albion games.
“I spoke to Chads and he feels 60 per cent, he doesn’t feel 100 per cent, and you can understand that,” said Pulis just before the international break.
“He has missed the pre-season, he’s had all that speculation with Swansea that affected him during the first couple of weeks of the season, and there are people like that who have had injuries.
“The two games that he’s played in he’s not felt sharp.
“Speaking to him, he feels a little bit better and a little bit stronger and he’s done extra work with the fitness coaches.”
Chadli missed the first two games of pre-season after deciding to skip the training camp in Austria following a bust-up with Pulis over summer.
He stayed at home and underwent his own fitness regime with a personal trainer, but Pulis said there was no substitute for playing games.
“I don’t think players realise it’s all about playing games,” said Pulis. “You can train as hard as you want but you need to play games, you need to be involved in those pre-season games to get yourself to the level to start a tough season.”
Chadli could soon be back to his best though, because he has been getting valuable minutes during this international break.
He played 90 minutes for Belgium in their 3-3 draw with Mexico on Saturday and completed 84 minutes in last night’s 1-0 win over Japan too.
It was Chadli's run down the wing and pin-point cross that set up Romelu Lukaku for the only goal of the game - a sign perhaps of things to come in an Albion shirt.
Chadli has cost the Baggies a total of £18million with add-ons but Swansea were interested in him in the summer.
However, they were unwilling to meet the asking price, which chairman John Williams dropped from £28m to £25.5m on deadline day in a bid to agree a deal.