West Brom’s stunning win at Stamford Bridge last week will count for nothing if they fail to follow it up with victory over Southampton on Monday night, Baggies boss Sam Allardyce has warned.
Allardyce described his side’s 5-2 win as the best he has ever seen from one of his relegation-threatened sides, but knows their inability to string two wins together all season has left them still odds-on for the drop.
Allardyce said: “I am now in the position of saying to the players, this cannot just be a one off lads, this has to be repeated, and you really can’t lower the standard you showed against Chelsea.
“What’s the point of doing what you did against Chelsea and then going out and failing against Southampton?
“Why waste it – why waste all that quality, all that energy, all that feeling in the dressing room after the game, all that high-fiving – why waste it by going and slipping up against Southampton now?”
Allardyce knows his proud record of avoid relegation throughout his career largely rests in other clubs’ hands, but says the spirited nature of the performance at Stamford Bridge augurs well compares to previous survival missions.
“I’ve never seen a team who have been struggling against relegation destroy a team like they destroyed Chelsea,” added Allardyce.
“We came close to it at Crystal Palace when we beat Arsenal 3-0, but it wasn’t as good as that one on Saturday against Chelsea.
“We now need to stay at this level until the end of the season, because this level will be needed for us to maintain our Premier League status. Playing at that level for the rest of the season, I honestly think we will avoid relegation.”
Allardyce hopes defender Dara O’Shea will be fit to return after hobbling off at Stamford Bridge with an ankle injury, while Conor Gallagher can come back after missing out against his parent club.
The Baggies boss, who admitted he wished his side had been able to return to action earlier, pointed to the way Chelsea rebounded in their midweek win over Porto as an example to his buoyant stars.
“You can see how well Chelsea have recovered, and I want to see my players do what they have failed to do all season and get back-to-back wins,” added Allardyce.
“Chelsea had to recover from that very poor performance and did, and our responsibility is to continue where we left off at Chelsea and go and beat Southampton.
“It won’t be an easy task but it is one we have to achieve if we are to continue our hope of staying in this division.”