The minsters for defence

Terry Wills on another seven days at the Hawthorns.

In a game that virtually guaranteed the first team to score would run out winners, the script ran true to form. Manchester United, despite seemingly not being the once dominating force of old, are just a point behind league leaders rivals Manchester City, so in hindsight if Albion had returned home with a point it would have to have been be considered a satisfactory afternoon out.

In truth that never looked likely. As an attacking force the Baggies rarely if ever threatened; the only genuine chance, and I still find it hard to believe it was spurned, coming from Saido Berahino who somehow managed to head over the bar from a few yards out, leading to Alan Shearer saying “He was frightened to head the ball!”

Whatever the reason it summed up a continuing Albion problem. With a typical Tony Pulis game plan to defend in depth, soak up pressure and hope to snatch a goal on the break, it was doomed to failure. More so when Gareth McAuley was shown a late red card. A penalty, 2-0 to United, game over.

Tony Pulis, clearly frustrated that individual errors again cost Albion goals, cannot dispute the fact and like most managers/head coaches trotted out the same sentiments whenever a game is lost. Yes they happened but overall it was a solid and defensive performance let down via an ‘attack’ consisting of a resurgent Stephane Sessegnon. Striker Salomon Rondon was left to plough his now traditional lone furrow role with no support and no hope of influencing the game.

Due to another of these unwanted, useless international breaks there are no Greed League fixtures this week, giving Pulis the opportunity to work on the problems that obviously need addressing. That in itself is almost an impossible task seeing that the bulk of his first choice players will be away representing their respective countries.