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Pulis won't go gung-ho for Guochuan, takeover or not.


IRONIC outbreaks of "we've had a shot", have become something of a staple at matches among frustrated West Bromwich Albion fans.

But the castigatory chant aimed towards Tony Pulis at the final whistle at Bournemouth was different.

It was a direct denunciation of the under-fire manager's tried and tested playing style.

Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai is expected to have his takeover ratified in full this week by the Financial Conduct Authority, having already satisfied the Premier League's scrutiny.

But anyone under the illusion Pulis will abandon his on-field formula in a deliberate attempt to win games and favour with his new boss will be rudely mistaken.

Pulis will set up his team to face West Ham at The Hawthorns on Saturday in exactly the same way as normal - takeover or no takeover.

He will make his team difficult to break down with military-style organisation in defence; diligence and discipline in midfield.

His players will be encouraged not to play risky passes through the middle, but to get the ball out wide for, fitness permitting, Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips to swing in crosses to Salomon Rondon.

Defenders, namely Gareth McAuley - Albion's top scorer this season - and Craig Dawson, will be pushed forward for set-pieces.

Mindful of the counter-attack threat West Ham pose in Michail Antonio, a player Pulis wanted to sign last summer, and Dimitri Payet, the Welshman might even dissuade Dawson and Brendan Galloway from supporting the wingers, initially at least.

Because the last thing he needs, with the mood among many fans clearly hostile, is for the Hammers to score first.

I have I expect Albion to start fast and get at West Ham from the outset, as they did against Everton and Middlesbrough, but in a controlled way.

no intention of changing the club's There will be no gung-ho approach to impress Guochuan on Saturday or in the coming weeks for that matter.

ethos "My immediate priorities will be to maintain the club's stable structure, respecting its wellrun nature and its heritage," Guochuan said after his proposed takeover was announced in July.

"I have no intention of changing the club's ethos."

Despite ructions with chairman John Williams over the shambolic transfer window, a feud with fans over playing style and a new boss in tow, I can't see Pulis changing his ethos either.

I have no intention of changing the club's ethos


Tony Pulis and (top) Guochuan Lai

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 15, 2016
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