Robbo: Duke is pushing hard
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
West Brom boss Bryan Robson admits Nathan Ellington is pushing for a place.
West Brom manager Bryan Robson admits Nathan Ellington is pushing for a place in the starting line-up.
The former Wigan striker has come off the bench to score in each of his last two outings, although his header was not enough to prevent Manchester United winning 2-1 at The Hawthorns.
Louis Saha scored both United goals and the Baggies boss was unhappy with the quality of his side's passing.
"Yes, he is," Robson replied, when asked if Ellington was really pushing for a start.
"Nathan has done well in the last couple of games when he's come in.
"Due to the calibre of team, I went for a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, whichever way you look at it, and Nathan has come on in the last two games and scored.
"His confidence is getting better and he's pushing for a place."
Robson felt United were indebted to keeper Edwin van der Sar, who kept them in front with two outstanding saves.
"We started bright enough again but van der Sar made some good saves," Robson told Sky Sports.
"The goal we gave away was really poor. It was the first set-play United had and slack marking on Saha, so he scored the goal.
"When United get in front, they make it difficult as they pass the ball so well. That's my biggest complaint as far as my own team is concerned.
"In the last three games, we've kept the ball well and not got what we've deserved but, today, our passing was poor. That's what made it comfortable for United - until we scored.
"Even then it was the same thing, like we get ourselves a free kick on the edge of the United box, send everyone forward and take a short one. It summed us up - bad decision-making on the day. Our passing was poor so we really got what we deserved."
Robson, who was jeered by some of the home fans when waving to the visiting supporters - a mirror-image of what occurred when The Red Devils faced Birmingham City and ex-player Steve Bruce last year, refused to criticise West Ham for playing a weakened side against Portsmouth.
"Alan Pardew's got a job to do at West Ham," he opined. "They're comfortable in the league and he wants to do well in the cup.
"We can't do anything about that, we've got to concentrate on our own performances.
"We had a hard run, especially the away games, at the end of last season. We've got to concentrate on our own game and try to get out of it as much as we can."