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Manager Roy Hodgson hails West Brom survival


Hodgson delighted at comeback win

West Brom boss Roy Hodgson is already looking ahead after a historic win against Aston Villa all but secured his side's Premier League status.

Youssouf Mulumbu's late winner gave the Baggies their first win against Villa since 1985, and Hodgson is now eager to bring long-term stability to the club.

"We're really delighted that we're safe with three games to go," said Hodgson.

"Hopefully we can find a team that can stay up every year and not consistently have to bounce back from relegation."

Only goal difference stood between West Brom and the Premier League's bottom three when Hodgson arrived in February following the dismissal of Roberto di Matteo, but the erstwhile Liverpool manager has since overseen a remarkable turnaround.

Goals from Peter Odemwingie and Mulumbu continued that upward trend against Villa despite a disastrous start for the home side, who fell behind to an Abdoulaye Meite own goal after only four minutes.

There was only one feather I wanted in our cap, and that was the feather that keeps us in the Premier League next year

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The Baggies have now lost just once in nine games under their new manager, with no victory more joyously received by the Hawthorns faithful than a first win over local rivals Villa since April 1985.

"We've got to be fair and say that for a lot of those years West Bromwich Albion haven't been playing in the same division," said Hodgson.

"We're not under any illusions that Aston Villa are a bigger club than we are at the moment, and their record in the Premier League is far more illustrious than our own.

"Our job is to keep working and keep improving and try to make certain that we approach the standards they've set for Midlands football. If we could finish above them that would be a great achievement, a nice little feather in our cap.

"But there was only one feather I wanted in our cap, and that was the feather that keeps us in the Premier League next year."

Hodgson's side are not yet mathematically certain to retain their top-flight status, but it would require a near-miraculous combination of results to deny them and Hodgson is already looking forward to tackling the club's 'yo-yo team' reputation.

"For me, it was a wonderful achievement to stay in the league and we must already start planning, building and concentrating to make certain that we can push on further from the foundations that we've laid by getting a second successive year in the Premier League."

Villa hurt by derby defeat - McAllister

West Brom's victory means they lead the way among the division's quartet of West Midlands clubs, but Villa caretaker boss Gary McAllister still harbours hopes of a top-half finish - and even reclaiming local bragging rights.

"We are still looking up the table, definitely," said McAllister. "There are nine points to play for.

"We have got Wigan at home and it is the only chance we've got to do a double over a team this season, which is a disappointing statistic.

"But it is a chance to beat a team that is below us and maybe get in the top half again.

"The disappointing thing today is we know what three points would have meant. Villa are still the biggest club in the midlands and we want to finish top of that pile."

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