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Saturday 21 October 2017

Irvine's Berahino policy to stay

Alan Irvine has refused to rethink his strategy of protecting fast-rising star Saido Berahino in the wake of West Brom's Capital One Cup capitulation at Bournemouth.

The Albion boss defended making 10 changes to the side that scrambled a 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with Crystal Palace on Saturday in spite of the 2-1 defeat at Dean Court three days later.

Irvine left star striker Berahino, Stephane Sessegnon and Georgios Samaras on the bench on Tuesday night, and paid the price as Bournemouth booked their first-ever League Cup quarter-final.

The Baggies manager is determined not to overuse Berahino, especially through the hectic Christmas schedule, and risk leaving the 21-year-old physically and mentally spent come the new year.

"Saido's getting a lot of attention at the moment, he's being asked to do a lot as well," said Irvine.

"They are away playing international games as well, and it's a big ask.

"I'm sure Albion fans would be bitterly disappointed if Saido Berahino were to be suddenly injured because we weren't looking after him.

"It's managing the whole situation, we have a squad of players who will need to be ready and will be used over the coming weeks."

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