Centre-back Jonas Olsson admits criticism of West Brom’s leaky defence during the current campaign has been more than justified.
The Baggies have been guilty of conceding a spate of soft goals which have been a key factor in them facing relegation from the Barclays Premier League after just one season.
They managed only their second clean sheet in 12 league games during Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Sunderland at The Hawthorns.
Olsson scored his third goal of the season during that rare victory but admits shutting out the opposition gives him far more satisfaction.
He said: “The clean sheet gave me a lot more pleasure than the goal. It is always nice to score and there is no greater feeling on the football pitch.
“But there has been a lot of criticism for the defence during the season and I can understand why because we have conceded a lot of goals.
“I think the criticism has been fair. You can’t close your eyes to reality. We concede a lot of goals so I think it’s fair criticism.
“But it’s not only about the back four. You defend as a team and attack as a team with all 11 players.”
Baggies boss Tony Mowbray has been delighted with the contribution of Olsson in his first season despite making the occasional error or misjudgement.
He said: “I like Jonas. He is 6ft 4in tall, a wonderful footballer, a real man, a competitor.
“Yet look at the penalty he gave away at Manchester City last week – we get back to 2-2, then 45 seconds later he lunges in to a tackle and we go 3-2 down... yet it doesn’t mean I want to get rid of him or bin him.
“I think he is going to develop, when he gets used to the English game, into a top player and I will be fielding bids for him because he is so good with the ball and the top teams could use players like that.
“He cost us at Manchester City and there have been other occasions but all day long, I’d have him in the team.”