West Brom coach, Roberto Di Matteo spoke up for his Nigerian import, Peter Odemwingie after the striker was the main culprit in a wasteful Baggies performance at Bolton Sunday.
The visitors were the better side at the Reebok Stadium but failed to take advantage of a number of golden chances and fell to a disappointing 2_0 defeat.
Chris Brunt headed against a post while James Morrison and Ishmael Miller also had great chances but none were as culpable as Odemwingie, who has impressed since arriving from Lokomotiv Moscow in the summer.
The striker returned to the side after three weeks out with a calf problem and was aim ing to add to his six goals already this season, but he rushed his shot when in space in the area in the first half, then pulled another effort wide from 10 yards out in the second half.
And, worst of all, he played a woeful pass to the onrushing Graham Dorrans after beating the Bolton offside trap when a better ball would surely have led to the first goal of the match.
Shortly after that missed opportunity, Bolton took the lead through Matt Taylor’s first goal of the season, and the hosts made the points safe four minutes from time through Johan Elmander.
Baggies boss Di Matteo said of Odemwingie: ‘Peter had two fantastic chances and it’s quite unusual for him (to miss them). He’s quite composed in front of goal and he usually scores. But that will come.
‘Apart from the chances, he had a good game. If he scored a goal or two then we would be talking in different terms. He’ll be okay. He’s a good player and once he gets back into the rhythm he will put those chances away.’
Di Matteo could not hide his frustration, though, at his side’s failure to take home any points after making a side that are chasing a top_six spot look second best for most of the game.
‘We’re coming away from here again and scratching our heads,’ he said. ‘We had more clear chances and we lost. It’s tough for us. You get punished in the Barclays Premier League.
‘You can’t have five or six chances and not score one because it changes the momentum of the game if you score a goal.’