Long thrilled with West Brom’s run of good form
Republic of Ireland striker enjoying life in the Premier League
West Brom’s Shane Long celebrates scoring his side’s third goal against Southampton with Romelu Lukaku. Photograph: Daniel Hambury/PA
West Brom striker Shane Long is hoping for a record-breaking end to what has been a fine season.
Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Southampton saw the Baggies set a new club record for Premier League matches won (14) and points gained (48).
Things could get better still if they finish ninth or above as that would represent their best ever finish in the Premier League era.
The Baggies sit comfortably in eighth with four matches remaining and Long hopes the impressive win at Southampton can be the catalyst for a strong end to the campaign.
“I felt like we have been playing well over the last couple of weeks,” the republic of Ireland international said.
“Maybe we were a little slow out of the blocks and we got caught because of that before.
“I think the only really bad performance was the first half last week against Newcastle.
“We held our own up until that and things just didn’t go our way.
“We started off very well and put ourselves in a great position to have a great season.
“I think the players and manager have deserved it so hopefully we can kick on for the last four games and get right up there.”
Southampton were unbeaten in six matches heading into the clash at St Mary’s, where they were outplayed from the outset.
Marc-Antoine Fortune opened the scoring after just six minutes, with second-half strikes from Romelu Lukaku and Long securing the three points.
“We came here with a game plan,” Long said. “Sometimes it doesn’t go properly to plan but at Southampton it did.
“We had a very attacking team out and we caused them all sorts of problems at the back.
“Once we got that first goal, we felt very confident about winning the game.
“The gaffer (Steve Clarke) said that as a front three we could interchange positions and the three of us were comfortable up there.
“It was enjoyable. I thought we played very well as a team and when we needed to defend and soak it up at the start of the second half we did that pretty well too.”
Despite a fine West Brom performance, most of the talk after the game was about referee Robert Madley after a top-flight debut to remember.
The Yorkshireman sent off Saints left back Danny Fox for a two-footed lunge after earlier showing red cards to Gaston Ramirez and Fortune.
Ramirez received his marching orders for elbowing Long in the face — something that led Fortune to raise his hands to the Uruguayan in anger.
“I got an elbow to the face,” Long added. “I don’t know if it was deliberate or not but he caught me straight on the chin.
“I think the ref got a good view of it and I was on the ground so I didn’t get a view of the second one.
“The third one was a two-footed challenge so I think we can say it was a good day’s work for the ref.”
Southampton captain Adam Lallana revealed Ramirez and Fox had apologised to their team-mates in the dressing room.