Aston Villa: West Brom boss Tony Pulis says rivals are 'not bad'

Saido Berahino entered the fray against Aston Villa at The Hawthorns as a 60th minute substitute
Albion failed to get a single shot on target against Villa even after Saido Berahino's 60th-minute arrival

West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Pulis says his side's failure to beat Aston Villa on Saturday was largely down to the fact that the Premier League's bottom club are actually 'not bad'.

Rather than worry about his own side's failings, Pulis is simply pleased to be doing better than Villa despite spending considerably less money.

"Villa have got £84m worth of talent and they're not bad," he told BBC WM.

"They have got some good players, but we've now taken four points off them."

While Villa are 10 points adrift of safety and hot odds-on favourites to be relegated from the English top flight for the first time in 28 years, Albion are seven points clear of trouble in 14th - on course to stay in the Premier League for a seventh successive season.

And, although concerned that his side failed to get a single shot on target in Saturday's goalless draw, Pulis was happy to grind out a result.

"We've now played Villa twice and they've not scored a goal against us," he added. "We weren't at our best but, as a manager, if someone had told me at the start of the season that they would spend that much money and we'd be that far ahead of them at this stage of the season, I'd have been turning somersaults."

Overworked Albion looked tired, admits Pulis

Since beating Arsenal at The Hawthorns on 21 November, the Baggies have only won twice in the top flight.

"You have to take things in context," Albion head coach Tony Pulis told BBC WM. "Eight games in four weeks and the last three have been away from home. My lads looked tired.

"Defensively we looked solid enough and it's so reassuring having Ben Foster back in goal. Boaz Myhill has done very well for us but Ben is an England goalkeeper. He's worked very hard to get back and that's his second clean sheet."

Not even the second-half arrival of the reportedly in-demand Saido Berahino could spark Albion into life up front against Villa.

Going into Saturday's FA Cup fourth round home date with League One side Peterborough, Albion have managed just one goal in three games - last week's second-half third round replay winner at Bristol City.

"Going forward, we were disappointing," added Pulis. "But, when things aren't going well, you work and work and we've ground out a result."

Tony Pulis was talking to BBC WM's Rob Gurney