Pulis wants early Christmas gift from misfiring Berahino

  • Football
  • Friday, 11 Dec 2015

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis (L) talks to Saido Berahino during their FA Cup fourth round soccer match against Birmingham City at St Andrew's in Birmingham, central England, January 24, 2015. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/Files

(Reuters) - Manager Tony Pulis has urged West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino to give him an early Christmas present by getting back to his best for the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old played and scored for the Baggies' under-21s on Monday night after spending their last two Premier League games on the bench.

Berahino last started for West Brom in their match against Leicester City on Oct. 31 and Pulis indicated he was pleased with the player's attitude.

"Saido asked to play (in the under-21s). He wanted to have a game. His attitude was first class and he scored a good goal," the manager told reporters at his pre-match news conference ahead of Sunday's trip to Liverpool.

"He needed a game to get closer to match fitness and, over the Christmas period, with the amount of games, it's good he has got game time."

Berahino scored 20 goals for the Baggies in all competitions last season but has just three so far this campaign, and Pulis is keen to see the forward regain his best form.

"We don't want it (his form) just for Christmas -- we want him back in the fold and as good as he was last year," Pulis said. "He was a top player for us last year."

Berahino was the subject of four failed bids from Tottenham Hotspur in the close season that escalated into one of the window's uglier transfer sagas.

He threatened to never play for West Brom again after failing to secure a last-minute move, but Pulis denied that he was looking ahead to the January transfer window when asked if Berahino could leave the club next month.

"I haven't got a clue. I haven't spoken to Jeremy (Peace, chairman) about the window yet and about what we want to do and don't want to do. We're more conc7erned about the games leading up to Jan. 1," the manager said.

"You can't do anything at the moment. My mind is totally and utterly focused on what we've got. They are tough games. We need to go to Anfield and put a good performance in."

West Brom, who are 13th in the table, will be without winger Stephane Sessegnon at eighth-placed Liverpool, but midfielder Claudio Yacob is back in contention after a one-match suspension.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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