22 Feb Alan Pardew: Troubled West Brom need a win to lift the mood
Alan Pardew feels West Brom will not be able to put their catastrophic trip to Barcelona behind them until they return to winning ways in the Premier League.
Senior players Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill embarrassed the club last week during a training camp in Barcelona when they broke a curfew and were allegedly involved in the theft of a taxi.
Evans and Barry were booed by a small section of West Brom supporters when making their first appearance since the incident in the FA Cup defeat to Southampton at The Hawthorns last weekend.
That fifth-round loss means Albion have won just three matches in all competitions since August as Pardew’s side prepare for a vital home clash against relegation rivals Huddersfield on Saturday.
“I think it’s important we answer the question marks against us in terms of professionalism, how not together we are and all the other sort of things an incident like this throws up. We haven’t really got a defence for all that until we win,” said the West Brom boss.
“We’re trying to put the event behind us by showing the determination to get a win. We know at the end of the game on Saturday that if we haven’t won then it will be a difficult week again for us, and we don’t want another difficult week.
“No-one wants to play and work like this. We want to come in and work and smile and have a buzz about us and repay some of the faith our supporters have.”
Pardew has confirmed that Evans is to be reinstated as captain against Huddersfield. The 30-year-old was stripped of the armband against Southampton as fellow defender Gareth McAuley skippered the side in the wake of events in Spain.
Asked whether that was the right message to be sending out, Pardew proclaimed punishment had been served and that it was time to begin to give Evans some absolution.
“What message?” said Pardew. “He’s paid a heavy price for that, trust me. It’s like all things in life, if you make a mistake are you going to have to pay for it for the rest of your life? I don’t think so.
“God teaches us to forgive and while I don’t think he’s been forgiven, he’s paid a price. And he’s still paying a price with you guys (the media). It will be an event which he deeply regrets as he gets on in life.
“Trust me the guys, all four of them, have apologised more than enough, they really have. In the right way as well. To me, the staff, the club, the fans. And now it is about us sort of showing some kind of backing to them.”