West Bromwich Albion Vs Blackburn Rovers, Tue 28 Dec 2010

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Boss Roberto Di Matteo feels West Brom are still paying for their Premier League inexperience as they prepare to face Blackburn at The Hawthorns.

The Baggies will take to the field against Rovers fresh from a fruitless trip to Bolton after losing 2-0.

There was certainly no disgrace in defeat against a team pushing for a top-six finish but the frustration for Di Matteo and his players was they gave a terrific performance and probably should have been heading back down to the midlands with the three points.

Instead, they were left to reflect on a host of missed chances and a missed opportunity, not for the first time this season, to claim points that could well be vital in their bid to do something they have not managed since the great escape of 2005 - stay in the Premier League.

Di Matteo said: "We need to score the chances that we have because, if you score the goal, the whole momentum of the game changes and it makes defending easier.

"The defending was good. We were playing away and I think they had two chances. And they're good. (Kevin) Davies and (Johan) Elmander cause a lot of problems.

"We're still learning. The decision making on our final pass wasn't right or we would have had even more chances. We are new in this Barclays Premier League and other teams are maybe a little bit more experienced and take advantage.

"But we're creating chances and that means the team is healthy. We know we need to improve and hopefully we'll get rewarded for what we're producing.

"The performances are good and we're always very close to getting a point or three. I remember at the start of the season somebody said enjoy the wins because they are very hard to get, and unfortunately he was right."

The Baggies will, though, be without one of their key players this season in Chris Brunt, with the midfielder serving a one-game suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card at the Reebok.

Di Matteo, who will check on the health of Jerome Thomas after he missed out through illness, said of Brunt: "He's a very important player for us. We will miss him but the others will have to step up. There's going to be a change and we'll have to see who is okay.

"It's going to be hard for the players because to fully recover in 48 hours will be impossible but every club is in the same situation.

"We'll just have to do our best and try to raise ourselves for Tuesday and take advantage of our home ground and home form and our supporters.

"Hopefully they'll be behind us like they've always been and, if we can get some points, it will make a wonderful 2010."

New Blackburn boss Steve Kean believes the promise of new faces in the January transfer window can convince wantaway defender Christopher Samba to stay.

Kean stripped Samba of the club captaincy ahead of the Boxing Day defeat at Stoke but will bring him back for the trip to West Brom provided he passes a fitness test.

Kean jetted out to India to meet Rovers' new owners before Christmas and says the news he brought home to his squad has eased the fears of senior players.

He said: "When I told Chris the plans for the transfer window he was very positive so hopefully he can look at it in a different light now and hopefully he will stay.

"Since I came back and explained what is going to be happening they [senior players] have been reassured and I don't think there has been anything negative.

"We will be submitting a list to the owners and it is inevitable we will be bringing in at least a few bodies, because we are thin on the ground a bit in key positions."

Kean knows he has to work just as fast to ease the fears of Rovers fans since the shock dismissal of Sam Allardyce, with many voicing their displeasure after the dismal loss to Stoke.

But despite the prospect of two consecutive away games Kean - given the job until at least the end of the season - believes the spirit in the squad will soon get them back to winning ways.

"Everybody is under pressure when you lose games but we will be looking forward," said Kean. "I just hope the fans can see we're being positive and working as a team.

"We've got two away games that are not easy on paper because West Brom and Sunderland play very well at home but it's about time we stuck together as players when we are on the road."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

West Bromwich Albion
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League

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