London (AFP) – Steve Bruce’s first home match as manager of West Bromwich Albion ended in a goalless draw with promotion-chasing rivals Blackburn Rovers at The Hawthorns on Monday.
The 61-year-old Bruce, hoping to guide the Baggies to the Premier League after being sacked as manager of top-flight Newcastle following the arrival of the club’s new Saudi-led owners in October, saw his current side have the better of the chances.
Former England striker Andy Carroll, making his Albion home debut, was denied by Rovers goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski, while it needed a desperate clearance from Tyrhys Dolan to prevent Adam Reach breaking the deadlock late on in a result that meant both sides have now gone four games without a win.
The stalemate left Blackburn third in England’s second-tier Championship, four points off the two automatic promotion places, with West Brom now in eighth position and three points shy of a play-off spot.
“There’s lots to be pleased about in terms of the effort, but we must improve in the final third,” said Bruce. “We must find a bit of creativity from somewhere in the team.
“Obviously, you need to score a goal to win a match and we haven’t managed to do that in the last two games… We have to find that bit of quality.”
Both sides had goals disallowed for offside before Ben Brereton Diaz, Blackburn’s leading scorer this season with 20 goals, went off in the 70th minute with a foot injury following an attempted shot.
“Ben Brereton Diaz is a very robust footballer,” Rovers manager Tony Mowbray told the BBC.
“He never misses a day’s training, always wants to do extra training. Fingers crossed that it was just a kick.”
Mowbray added: “We have to accept the point and move on but I felt we were the team who were going to score. It’s just frustrating that we couldn’t nick a goal from an improved second-half performance.
“I’m still proud of keeping a clean sheet, but with the talent we have, we should be scoring a goal.”
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