Sam Allardyce admits West Brom’s spiralling plight makes it his toughest survival mission yet.
Baggies boss Allardyce has won just one of his 11 League games in charge.
Allardyce admits he has so far “failed” to stop Albion’s alarming defensive shortcomings.
But the 19th-placed Baggies were unlucky not to beat Manchester United previously in a 1-1 draw.
Allardyce insists the display, including impressive outings from new loanees Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mbaye Diagne and Okay Yokuslu, has given his men real hope ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley.
Asked if he had ever faced a challenge of his magnitude, Allardyce, appointed in December, replied: “Not really.
“As difficult as it looks, I’m still optimistic we can give it a go.
“Hopefully I’ll be smiling at the end of the season.
“It is still my hope and desire to be sat here and say: ‘wow, how did we do that?’
“I have sat and done a few of them and got up the day after and wondered just how did we get out of trouble?
“We didn’t only beat the teams in the bottom eight, we also beat the teams in the top six.
“It is more difficult when you are in this position.
“We have failed miserably in terms of not letting goals in.
“I have failed in that way, people can point the finger at me.
“It is harder now because we have thrown too many points away.
“But I don’t think you could loan better for the money we have spent.
“What would I liked to have done? Obviously get them in on the second of January which might have made a difference to the games we lost.”
Albion could have beaten United as Senegalese striker Diagne had several good chances to add to his early opener.
“I still haven’t got over it,” admitted Allardyce.
“We should have beaten them.”
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“My challenge to the players is that the performance against Manchester United has to happen again at Burnley, or even better at times.
“The games left is getting smaller and smaller and we’re nearly getting to ‘must win’ which is a sad place to be at this stage.
“That’s something we have to take up on Saturday because Burnley are in the bottom eight.
“We need to be ruthless enough to take the three points.”
Allardyce has previously built other survival acts from a solid defensive basis.
Yet Albion have conceded 55 goals in 24 games – the worst in the division.
“It’s all about the goals we’ve let in,” rued Allardyce.
“Those sloppy goals have to stop.
“Until we start making an impact on that we will find it very difficult to survive or have a chance going into the last few games.”