Tony Pulis retains respect for Saido Berahino

11 January 2016 05:53

Boss Tony Pulis insisted his respect for Saido Berahino has always remained despite the striker's difficult West Brom career.

The 22-year-old is in contention to start for the first time since October when the Baggies go to Chelsea on Wednesday.

He scored his first goal for three months when he came off the bench to net in Saturday's 2-2 FA Cup draw with Bristol City.

Berahino has been a substitute for 10 straight games and has struggled for form this season, scoring just four times, after Tottenham had four summer bids rejected.

He celebrated on Saturday by shaking Pulis' hand and the head coach said it proves their relationship is fine.

"Has it ever been anything but well? I have no problems with Saido, I have said that all along. At times he is misguided in the way he has acted around the club," he said.

"He has never held a grudge against me. I have certainly got tremendous respect for him. I do care for him and worry about him at times because he is still a young lad and he can be very immature but that is the process of growing up.

" Saido took a turn for the worst, we have to deal with it, have to work with him and make sure we get him through it."

Jonas Olsson and Victor Anichebe are struggling with their hamstring injuries but Pulis is hopeful they will be fit for the game at Stamford Bridge and admitted he is protecting his players in training, with Albion also heading to Southampton on Saturday.

He added: " We are trying to do as little as possible in respect of work and make sure we maintain, mentally, their focus. If you manage it properly and manage it well, players should be able to cope with games."

Source: PA