Darren Moore: Bringing Jonny Evans on worked for West Brom
Darren Moore understands why his decision to bring Jonny Evans on when Albion were losing was greeted with boos – but he says the switch worked ‘an absolute treat’.
Moore sent defender Evans on for winger James McClean on Saturday in order to get some extra height on the pitch when the Baggies were 1-0 down against Liverpool and chasing the game.
The decision was greeted with boos from the home fans, who were not only baffled by the substitution but also vented their frustration at their club captain for his role in the off-field controversy in Barcelona.
The Baggies immediately conceded a second goal to Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s team pounced on Albion’s struggles to get to grips with a new back three.
But Moore’s team fought back with two set piece goals in the last 11 minutes and Albion’s caretaker boss believes his decision was vindicated.
He also sent on Oliver Burke for Kieran Gibbs at left wing back, and the pacy youngster won the free-kick that led to Salomon Rondon’s equaliser.
“I can understand the frustration,” said Moore, when asked about the boos.
“Looking at it, the tactics was to think to myself that we were putting in some unbelievable free-kicks and set plays and I thought we should get some extra height on the pitch.
“What everybody doesn’t realise is James McClean had a terrible stomach bug and he was really struggling.
“I was delighted for him because he gave his all but he was really struggling.
“We made the tactical switch to get Jonny on and that’s where the goal came from, the set-play, and I just thought if we could get that set-play it would give them a problem. And we got back in the game through it.
“The response (booing), I can understand it. But just looking at it in terms of character, it was wonderful to get back into the game.
“It worked an absolute treat, so tactically it was absolutely spot on.
“We carried on and once we scored the goal the atmosphere again rose and as you’ve seen it, it was a wonderful finish, and the right thing to do.”
Both Evans and Gareth Barry have been booed at various times since they were named as two of the four senior players who allegedly stole a taxi on an ill-fated trip to Spain under Alan Pardew.
Barry bore the brunt of the jeers before he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury but the boos rang louder for Evans on Saturday as Liverpool fans joined in because of his Manchester United roots.
Evans is expected to leave Albion this summer because of a modest £3m release clause in his contract but Moore insists the club captain still has a huge part to play in the remaining games of the season.
“Every player at the club and every supporter (is giving 100 per cent),” he added. “Everybody around here is giving everything in order to get the result it is a collective effort.
“It’s about togetherness from now until the end of the season and that’s why I keep saying it.”