Football

Saido Berahino has served his time and should be forgiven, insists Tony Pulis

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Tony Pulis believes Saido Berahino has served his time after West Brom's transfer-window nightmare.

The striker marked his return to the starting line-up to hit the winner at Aston Villa - his first goal since threatening to strike - and clinch a 1-0 victory.

Berahino threw his shirt into the travelling fans at the end to complete his recovery after he threatened to down tools on transfer deadline day following two rejected bids from Tottenham.

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The squad cleared the air with the England Under-21 international during a team meeting this month and Pulis believes Berahino has now paid his dues.

He said: "The transfer window has been a nightmare for this club, not just for Saido but all the players as well.

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"When we were young we've all made mistakes and in hindsight you look back and you regret what you've done. I am sure Saido regrets the way he has handled it and the way he has played it.

"He got crucified for it and in some respects he deserves it but he is a young lad and he deserves help and for people to back him and work with him. The players have been wonderful with him and you have seen today with his goal. Hopefully he gets his head down and concentrates on what he is good at."

Albion have now kept 14 clean sheets in 24 Barclays Premier League games under Pulis, who added: "It was our best team performance by a mile. I said on Thursday if we can take the way we've trained into what we need on Saturday we will give Villa a good game."

Berahino struck to divert James Morrison's shot beyond Brad Guzan six minutes before the break and Villa rarely looked like recovering.

They were angered when referee Martin Atkinson penalised Berahino for a debatable handball in the second half and gave a free-kick instead of a penalty despite the striker appearing to be in the area.

Micah Richards also headed past Boaz Myhill but the hosts had already been awarded a free-kick and are now winless in the Premier League since the opening day.

They host rivals Birmingham in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday and Sherwood insisted he can handle the pressure after the home fans jeered Villa off.

"Tim Sherwood is at his best when he is backed into a corner," he said.

"I have said 'be patient' from the start, they have in the main but when you lose derby games patience wears thin.

"I'm not just saying it in hindsight, this is a transition period and there's going to be a lot of ups and downs.

"If our points marry our performances then we should have a lot more than four. We have to take it on the chin and put it right. I can look those boys in the eye and know they are all on side and eager to put it right.

"There's no need for panic."

But Sherwood admitted his side were not good enough as they search for their first home league win of the season.

"I'm being very honest when I say we deserve more than what we've got before but today we possibly got what we deserved," he said.

"We are going to have to dig it out."

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Topics:
Aston Villa
Premier League
West Bromwich Albion
Saido Berahino
Football

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