Express & Star

Steve Bruce: West Brom defending 'hideous' and 'schoolboy' in Birmingham defeat

Steve Bruce hit out at 'hideous' and 'schoolboy' defending as Albion slumped to a nightmare 3-2 home derby defeat to Blues.


The Baggies boss compared his side's defending to that of 11-year-olds as ex-Villa frontman Scott Hogan struck a hat-trick to punish Albion's abject defending at The Hawthorns.

Albion conceded first for the eighth game in 11 this season but after a Jed Wallace equaliser Hogan was gifted two more painfully simple goals. Brandon Thomas-Asante pulled one back from the spot late on - when a penalty decision looked outside the box.

Boos rang out at The Hawthorns at full-time, after Kyle Bartley - who endured a nightmare evening personally - was jeered off by his own fans. Albion have slumped down to 20th in the Championship, outside the bottom four on goal difference.

Asked for his assessment, Bruce said: "Where do I start? The disappointing thing is that we didn't take part in the game until the last 20 minutes. In a big derby game, we fell short.

"We didn't win a challenge, couldn't deal with (Troy) Deeney at the top end of the pitch, the physicality of Birmingham, we were nowhere near where we should be."

Bruce, who takes his troops to second-placed Norwich on Saturday, added: "Individual error is something you can't fix. The concentration from our defence at times was awful, I'll grant you that. The goals we've given away is something you've seen on a schoolboy pitch with 11 year olds, it was that bad.

"Unfortunately, it's happened too many times, individual error, mistakes. The disappointing thing for me was that we didn't do any basics well enough, we didn't compete well enough, we didn't do enough to influence the game.

"When you put that in with the hideous defending that we did, you're in for a poor evening.

"Not showing up in a derby - awful."