Robson: We must stop leaking goals
By Oliver Bhurrut
BRYAN Robson insists he has been impressed with his troops' attitude
since his arrival at The Hawthorns - but has warned: "We must defend
And the new Baggies boss knows they must improve sooner rather than
later as Albion take the Premiership's third-worst defensive record
to the league's top scorers, Arsenal, on Saturday (ko 3pm).
Robson believes if his men can stem the flow of goals at the back,
after conceding 24 in 13 games, they have enough to offer at the
other end to stave off relegation.
"The enthusiasm has been excellent," said Robson.
"The concentration in what we're trying to put across to the players
has been very good.
"I've been pleased with their attitude.
"What concerns me is that we've conceded the third most goals in the
league - we have to tighten up.
"When you defend you have to defend as a team and we have to look at
the team shape.
"We can't have 15 minutes of a game like we did at the start of the
second half on Sunday. We gave Middlesbrough too much possession.
"But if we can get that part right we will not get beaten."
The Gunners have dropped points to strugglers Southampton and
Crystal Palace in draws in recent weeks and Robson is hoping his
side can pull off a similar feat.
But the Hawthorns chief knows it will take hard graft to leave
Highbury with anything.
"People have proved over the last few weeks that if you get
organised and work hard against Arsenal you can get a result," he
"That's our intention - to go down there and make it as difficult as
possible for them."
Robson added: "The amount of chances we created against
Middlesbrough was good, particularly in the first half. There was
some good movement and passing.
"But there are things we can work and improve on to win games.
"The players have got to believe in each other. There is a very good
work ethic but we need that little bit of quality to keep hold of
the ball and obviously we must score goals."
Robson also praised Robert Earnshaw, who has fired three goals in
two games, but insists he and fellow Wales international Jason
Koumas still have things to learn if they are to make an impression
among England's elite.
"Earnshaw has shown in training as well that he is a very good
finisher and you've got to score goals to survive in the Premiership
because other sides will get chances," Robson warned.
"When you look at the statistics you nearly always have to score at
least two goals to win a Premiership game and Earnshaw is sharp
around the box.
"I don't want to take away from that but he has got to work on other
aspects of his game, like his build-up play, and his work rate for
the team has to improve."
Robson added: "The only thing I can do for Jason Koumas is encourage
"He needs to prove to me that he can bring that potential out in
Premiership games and, if he gets his chance, he has to show he can
cope with Premiership football.
"The type of player he is means he can create and score goals for us
at this level.
"It's been a difficult start for him but he's got a lot of ability
and it's a question of fitting that into the side so we can get the
best out of him and he gives the best for the team."
Arsenal will be without Sol Campbell (calf) again for Saturday's
encounter while midfielders Edu (toe) and Gilberto Silva (vertebrae)
are also sidelined.