The Welshman's future has come under pressure with the club bottom of the table despite heavy summer investment, but he insisted he was 'absolutely' the right man for the job
The West London side found themselves up against a two goal deficit in under half an hour at the Hawthorns, and although Adel Taarabt netted a spectacular individual effort and Esteban Granero scored a late consolation, the team's defensive vulnerability allowed the Baggies to claim a 3-2 win.
With betting on Mark Hughes’ future at the club having been suspended the beleaguered manager was asked after the match if he was confident he could lead the Hoops to safety, but he insisted: “Absolutely.”
He remained upbeat in his assessment of the defeat, but acknowledged supporters’ concerns and admitted: “We could have got an equaliser late on, but our concerns would still have been there. We aren't doing the fundamentals well enough.
Asked whether he was surprised at those calling for his dismissal he replied: “Not really,” and went on to explain the challenges faced at the club, telling reporters: We knew where we might possibly be at the beginning of season because of the number of changes we made.
“We are disappointed because we have deserved more in matches this season, although not so much today. In a number of matches this season we have shown we have quality.
“We have come a long way in a short pace of time. We had a difficult time last season but we stayed in the Premier League. We have had injuries which haven’t helped, but we need to improve results.”
The Welshman was appointed in January earlier this year to replace the sacked Neil Warnock, and led the team to safety on the final day of last season with a run of five consecutive home victories.
However despite chairman Tony Fernandes’ heavy investment over both transfer windows since Hughes’ appointment, the Hoops are yet to pick up a win in seven matches in the new season, leaving the team bottom of the table with just two points.
Costly midfielders Esteban Granero, Stephane M’Bia, Junior Hoilett and Park Ji-Sung have been added to the squad, but a string of new defensive signings including including two goalkeepers in Robert Green and Julio Cesar have kept just one clean sheet, conceding 16 goals in the process.
He made the point of praising the mercurial playmaker Adel Taarabt and defender Ryan Nelsen following the match, adding: “Adel Taarabt was excellent today.
“His overall performance and determination to make things happen for us were great. There were others too. Ryan Nelsen I thought was fantastic.“
He also paid tribute to the supporters, concluding: “We bring big numbers. We are really frustrated for them. We know we have the potential to be a good team in this league, but we can’t keep missing opportunities to win.”
For his part, West Brom coach Steve Clarke remained grounded following the win that saw the Baggies climb to fourth in the table.
He explained that their performance was far from perfect and explained: “We created a lot of chances, but took longer to see the game out than would’ve liked.
“I thought we were a little sloppy defensively which isn’t like us. Conceding the second goal made us nervous.”
Asked if he expected his strong start, West Brom’s best in 100 years, he insisted his team keep their feet on the ground rather than look to European competition and replied: “Why not? I knew I was coming into a good group of players.
“They were comfortable in the Premier League. I’m not over surprised. I’m delighted, but not overly-surprised. I knew we would be competitive.
“We don’t get carried away. We approach each game one at a time. We don’t get ahead of ourselves. We know our primary objective. Having another season in the premier league is our objective and that has to be for most teams in PL.
“We consolidate and look to improve.”