Hodgson can smell survival

BY foxsports • April 10, 2011

Roy Hodgson wants three more points to keep West Brom in the Premier League and complete another rescue mission after the win at Sunderland.

Hodgson, who dragged Fulham out of trouble three seasons ago, saw his side ease themselves seven points clear of the drop zone with a 3-2 victory at Sunderland which extended their recent unbeaten Premier League run to a club record seven games.

However, he believes the Baggies are not yet safe despite giving themselves every chance of booking a second successive top-flight campaign.

Hodgson said: "I think we will need 42 points, so 39 is a damn sight closer to 42 than 32, that's for sure.

"But on the other hand, I won't be opening any bottles of champagne until such time as the 42-point mark is reached - and even then, it might not be mathematical.

"But I have got to say with so many teams involved, the teams at the bottom now are going to have to play unbelievably well if they are going to take 10 or 11 points from the remaining six games.

"That's the type of form that would win you the Barclays Premier League, let alone keep you in it.

"If we can get to 42, we will be well on the way. And anyway with six games to play, this team doesn't like to lose, it's not a team that takes its foot off the pedal at any time, so who knows?

"We might get even more points than 42, that's what we will be playing for."

The win at the Stadium of Light eased West Brom into 10th place in the table, but they had to come from behind twice before securing the points.

Sunderland looked to be on their way when Nicky Shorey headed Asamoah Gyan's cross into his own net under pressure from Ahmed Elmohamady.

Even when the impressive Peter Odemwingie levelled 19 minutes later, Phil Bardsley restored order with a 31st-minute thunderbolt, his third goal of the season.

However, Youssouf Mulumbu's 54th-minute equaliser gave the Baggies the platform to dominate after the break, and they made the pressure pay 18 minutes from time when Paul Scharner fired home the winner from Odemwingie's pull-back.

Hodgson is yet to taste defeat in his six games at the helm and although he admits things could not have gone much better for him, he is taking nothing for granted.

He said: "There are six more games to go and I am certain there are clouds on the horizon.

"But having said that, if you spend your life worrying about the clouds on the horizon, you forget the sunshine and you lead a pretty miserable life, so at the moment, I am just enjoying the sunshine."

Opposite number Steve Bruce's mood was in stark contrast after his side slipped to a seventh defeat in eight games which left them in 13th place, although still six points clear of the bottom three.

He said: "I sound like a long-playing record, don't I? That sums our last few weeks up, it's exactly the same.

"It's an unbelievable thing, confidence. You can see West Brom, a couple of results go for them and all of a sudden, they are very, very confident in what they are doing compared to us.

"I would have thought Phil's goal would have given everybody a lift, it was a wonderful strike.

"But we went 10, 15, 20 minutes in the second half when we were all over the place again, which cost us.

"The big problem we have got is we can't keep any of them on the pitch for long enough, that's the recurring problem we have got at the moment which he have got to try to overcome."

Sunderland's cause was hampered by John Mensah's groin injury and Kieran Richardson's calf strain, which forced him to use two of his substitutes before the second half got under way, and Anton Ferdinand then limped off with a hamstring problem.

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