McAuley delight at Olsson stay

  • Last Updated: September 2 2012, 13:29 BST

Gareth McAuley underlined the importance of West Brom retaining fellow centre-back Jonas Olsson after the pair played a key role in Saturday's 2-0 win over Everton.

Jonas Olsson: Linked with a summer exit from West Brom

McAuley was on target in the win at the Hawthorns, doubling the home side's lead following Shane Long's opener as the Baggies made it seven points from a possible nine at the start of the new Barclays Premier League season.

Yet it was Olsson, in the final year of his contract, who was voted man of the match after a solid display which helped blunt the threat of Everton dangerman Marouane Fellaini.

Olsson was linked with a move away from the Baggies over the summer after stalling on a new contract, but he is still at the club with the transfer window now closed.

McAuley said: "It is massive that Jonas has stayed at West Brom.

"He had a fantastic season and the way football is, some of the so-called bigger clubs want your players and they can come and take them.

"That is the way it is. But it is fantastic that he is still here.

"Hopefully he can get things sorted and be here for the foreseeable future."

The McAuley-Olsson partnership has been a major reason for Albion establishing themselves in the top flight.

McAuley added: "We hit it off with the partnership straight away, we developed that last season and we're looking to make it even better again.

"We've managed two clean sheets so far, we got 10 last season and that is the minimum we expect of ourselves this year."

Baggies boss Steve Clarke said: "I think keeping Jonas is a statement from the club in that they have key players but they don't have to cash in on them.

"Financially the club is in a good position. I think it's important you understand the way this club is run.

"The people at the top, they know what they are doing."

McAuley believes Albion's pre-season fitness programme is reaping dividends.

He said: "We worked hard pre-season, put the graft in, put a lot of mileage into the legs, and we know we will finish strong in games.

"The first goal maybe gave us that bit of belief that we could go on and seal the victory.

"Everton are a good side, and we knew we were in for a game, and it was physical out there at times, but we weathered that and managed to play some decent football."

Everton suffered their first Premier League defeat since March - an 11 game run - and manager David Moyes admitted his tactics may have played a part in ending that sequence.

Moyes opted to bring off Steven Naismith and put on another newcomer in Kevin Mirallas in a bid to force victory but Albion exploited the gaps.

He said: "For 60 minutes we had done everything we wanted but we couldn't break them down and that was the hard part.

"We had a lot of the ball and they defended very well, kept their shape well. In the final third our better players today didn't make things happen for us.

"I made a change to try and go for it because I thought we weren't doing enough to score and in opening up we conceded a goal from it.

"We made some changes before they did score to try and win the game but unfortunately it backfired on us.

"Maybe I made the wrong decision. Maybe I should have sat back and said let's give West Brom the ball but we were out to try and get a goal."