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We’ve got a big summer ahead – Steve Bruce knows West Brom need to improve

Steve Bruce knows he has work to do at West Brom (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Steve Bruce knows he has work to do at West Brom (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Steve Bruce says he will always look back on his first month in charge of West Brom with regret after his side finished 10th in the Championship table.

The Baggies secured a 4-0 win over already relegated Barnsley on the final day of the campaign with Karlan Grant netting a brace and Adam Reach and Matt Clarke also on target at The Hawthorns.

But while Albion ended the season with two wins and a draw, Bruce knows a mid-table finish is not good enough for a side with parachute payments and one of the largest wage budgets in the division.

West Brom were in the play-offs when the former Newcastle boss replaced the sacked Valerien Ismael in February.

But he failed to win any of his first five games in charge – with that run effectively ending their promotion hopes.

“This season has not been good enough,” said Bruce, who has been tasked with overhauling West Brom’s squad for a promotion push next year.

“Looking back on the three months, it was the first month where I didn’t make the impact I would have liked.

“We didn’t get anywhere near the results that we needed to give us a chance.

“I couldn’t address the slide quickly enough and that is the overriding feeling I have at this moment in time.

“We finished OK. We’ve given a glimpse of how we want to try and approach it next year. But it was a little bit too late.

“We have got good players in the club and my challenge is to put a squad together that is capable of getting us to where we want to get to. We’ve got a big summer ahead.”

Rock-bottom Barnsley headed to The Hawthorns having been relegated last month.

And with their number of absentees stretching into double figures, caretaker head coach Martin Devaney named a youthful side with Cauley Woodrow their only outfield player aged over 22.

The Tykes were not helped by referee Leigh Doughty when the official incorrectly awarded West Brom a penalty after judging Clarke Oduor had fouled Jayson Molumby when he had actually taken the ball.

From that penalty, Grant opened the scoring. And Devaney felt his side had done well before Doughty’s error.

“We had such a young team,” said Devaney, who began the season as under-23s coach.

“For a lot of the players, it was only their second or third game so it was always going to be a massive struggle for us.

“But I thought up until the penalty, which clearly wasn’t a penalty, we did well. The structure was good, our pressing was good.

“But they got that penalty. And then you are asking a young team to gather their minds and make sure they stay in the game. But they got that second goal which was really disappointing.

“The young boys, though, will learn from that. It will be a great experience for them.”

Devaney insisted he has not thought about his future when asked if he wants the manager’s job full-time.

“I’ve not thought about my own future,” he added.

“The club has to review the season and look forward and build for next season.”