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James Shan waiting to hear if he'll lead West Brom at Brentford

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published: | Last Updated:

Caretaker boss James Shan isn't sure if he'll be in charge of Albion at Brentford this weekend – despite beating Swansea 3-0 at The Hawthorns tonight.

James Shan. (AMA)

Shan admitted the Baggies could make a managerial appointment in the next 48 hours, relieving him of his duties, but until told otherwise, he will prepare for Saturday's trip to Griffin Park.

The caretaker boss, who admitted the 3-0 scoreline flattered his side, also confirmed taking the reins full-time had not crossed his mind.

"The instruction was one game at the time, the instruction was to prepare for the game against Swansea," he said.

"We all know football moves very quickly, there could be an appointment in the next 24 or 48 hours, I'm not too sure.

"But until we know anything different, we have to prepare for the game against Brentford on Saturday."

Albion won their first home game of 2019 under Shan, who admitted the experience was 'surreal', but he has given no thoughts to replicating what Darren Moore did last season and getting the full-time job.

"Not at all," he said. "Darren had first team experience at Blackburn, he had always been in and around the first team, Tony (Pulis) took him to a lot of games. That really hasn't crossed my mind."

However he does believe the board will trust him with the Brentford game, if it came to that.

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"The board had confidence for me to take the game against Swansea," he said. "I see nothing different or otherwise. I'm just waiting further instruction."

Shan's decision to bring club captain Chris Brunt back into the side proved an inspired one, as he scored one and set up another.

But Swansea No.10 Bersant Celina missed a comical penalty and Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone was in inspired form in the Albion goal.

"I'd agree the scoreline flattered us," said Shan. "Swansea posed a massive threat, particularly in the first half.

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"Sam Johnstone's performance kept us in the game, he was outstanding tonight.

"I think his performances have been very good throughout this season, he's made more eye-catching saves this evening, but he's been consistent all season.

"Chris has trained very well over the last week and a half. Ten days ago we had a practice match, him and James Morrison ran more than anyone else in the game.

"I had no doubt Chris was at a physical levels to complete the game and I thought he was fantastic.

"Chris has that experience, he's played under a lot of managers and a lot of systems, he's very football intelligent. He's done his coaching courses, he's an important player for the team."

Shan went back to basics, and visibly changed the tactics, employing a 4-5-1 with Dwight Gayle up front.

Albion only had 30 per cent possession, but managed to keep Swansea at bay, thanks largely to Johnstone.

"We didn't expect to be without the ball for such long periods," said Shan.

"There's been a lot of good work playing out of the back this season and playing through the thirds.

"The system we played this evening has the potential to compliment all those systems."

Shan first joined the club in 2006 as a youth team coach, but has risen through the ranks and was promoted to the first team under Moore.

He admitted it was a proud, if surreal evening.

"Before the game, a lot of people asked me how I was feeling," he said. "Once your mindset is focused on the game, it's no different.

"If I'm being brutally honest, there was no different feeling to taking the under-23s.

"Post-game, you start to get a sense of pride. My opening line to the players was, 'I don't know if this is the right or wrong thing to say to you but the last three or four days have been absolutely surreal for me'.

"I started coaching in a Birmingham school playground, I had a line of 12 kids, no real idea what to do.

"To fast forward 18 years to this point is one of a massive sense of pride. I thank the players for their work rate and application this evening."

Shan insists he's happy to return to his previous roles once a new head coach is installed.

"I worked with the under-7s all the way upto the under-16s," he said. "I continued to work with the under-7s when I was under-18s coach.

"It's something I enjoy doing, at that tender age they're brilliant to work with.

"I've never been one for craving the attention, I just love coaching.

"Under Darren I had enough access to the players to work with on the grass. I'm more than comfortable."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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