The Ireland international felt he should have had a penalty in the second half but believes the Baggies can take a lot of positives going into next week’s clash against SunderlandShane Long feels West Bromwich Albion deserved a win against Fulham after being held to a goalless draw at home.
In a match of few chances, Peter Odemwingie was thwarted when through on goal by Mark Schwarzer and Chris Brunt hit the post late on, but the visitors dominated the proceedings for most of the 90 minutes and would have come away with a rare away win if Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster had not turned substitute Bryan Ruiz’s close-range shot onto the post.
The point was enough for the home side to move off the foot of the table, but they remain in the drop zone just above bottom-placed Bolton Wanderers.
Speaking after the match, Long said that he felt his side deserved victory for their second-half performance and added that he felt he should have had a penalty after a clash in the box.
“I think in the second half we definitely deserved it. They never really threatened, we had a good few chances to go one ahead,” he said.
“First half was a bit of a wake up call for us and the fans got behind us in the second, pushed us on and we were unlucky not to get the three points.
“They’re a good side, they’re a top 10, top eight team, so a point at home isn’t a bad result.”
When asked whether he felt he deserved a penalty, the striker added: “Definitely, but the referee didn’t see it. Hopefully the rub of the green will go my way.”
Roy Hodgson tried a 4-3-3 formation for the match on Saturday which saw Long playing as a lone striker and last season’s top scorer Odemwingie start on the right.
However, with Fulham dominating he reverted back to a 4-4-2 which made the hosts look much more threatening as a force.
Long agreed that the change in formation had played a part in West Brom’s second-half revival and said he hopes to form a strong partnership with Odemwingie in the future.
“It didn’t really work for us, we’ve got good players in midfield and Peter and Jerome [Thomas] out on the wings so we thought we’d get at them a bit more,” he added.
“They ended up playing well and passing it around us and we couldn’t really get into the game. But the gaffer’s seen that and he’s changed it up.
“Second half it was brilliant. There were balls played up to us and the midfield was pushed up right behind us and it was easy to pop it off to them and get into the box.
“If we play like that for the rest of the season will go a very long way.”
On playing with Odemwingie, he said: “Me and Pete kind of got together in the second half, passing to each other and he got in one-on-one. He got a few chances, he’s a lively forward.
“If I can set him up a bit more often it will be good for the team.”
His team-mate, Gareth McAuley, who was named the sponsors’ man of the match on his Premier League debut, echoed Long’s views that West Brom would get themselves out of trouble in the near future.
When asked if they would soon climb the table, he told reporters: “Definitely. The players that are in there are fantastic, I see them every day in training.
“The thing about it is they have a great desire, togetherness, they’ve been together a few years.
“It’s been a sticky start, we’ve not got the points on the board but the expectation is there after a great finish last year but we’ll get that right on the training ground and hopefully that will come out on to the pitch and we can progress and move forward.”
McAuley took advantage of Gabriel Tamas’ suspension to replace Craig Dawson in central defence and stake his claim for a regular spot in the future.
But the former Ipswich man refused to get carried away with his performance as there is still a great deal of competition for his place in the team.
“[Making your debut] is what you work for, it’s what all the sweat, all the hard work in the gym and stuff, when you get a chance to play in the best league in the world," he said.
“It’s fantastic, hopefully I can go on now and try to establish myself in the team here and do well for West Brom.
“We’ve got four centre-backs and only three places in the team so it was disappointing for myself but Dawson’s a great player as well, he’s been fantastic through pre-season and deserved his chance.
“I thought he’d done well last week and you’ve got Gabby [Tamas] coming back in now, so it’s pressure on for our places in our team at centre-back.
“We just have to wait and see [if I can keep his place]. That was my aim before the game, just to make sure I defended properly and tried to do everything right, put in a half-decent performance to put the other lads under pressure, especially knowing that Gabby’s coming back into the fray for next week and hopefully do enough to push myself into the manager’s thoughts.”
McAuley also had strong words for former Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez, who said not long ago that current boss Nigel Worthington deserved to be sacked.
“Lawrie Sanchez was out of order. I’ve not seen it but I’ve heard what was said,” he added.
“He walked away from us in the middle of a campaign and supporters might forgive him for that but I don’t know about the players.
“Nigel’s doing the best with the group of players he has. There’s a lot of young players coming through now and we’re trying to load them in.
“Obviously the older ones, we’ve got bring these young players through, some maybe aren’t ready to play.
“It’s a big ask and we’ve got to try and protect them as well as we can.”