Hodgson: Brom must defend better
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West Brom need to tighten up their defence if they are to avoid another relegation battle in the new season, manager Roy Hodgson has told his players. The Midlands side finished a creditable 11th last season - their first back in the top flight - but they allowed 71 goals in 38 games. Only relegated Blackpool let in more with 78 goals against.

Hodgson believes the Baggies will struggle to stay up if there is a repeat of that performance during the next 10 months. "If you are talking about soft goals and defensive errors and goals conceded, we've got a lot of work to do, all of us, myself and the coaching staff with the players we've got," he said.

"It would be wrong to try and attribute those goals or defensive frailties to one person or two people. It's a team thing. We've got to concede less free-kicks, maybe concede less corners, defend them better, and in general be stronger defensively."

Hodgson, whose side face champions Manchester United in the opening game, added: "You can't go every year into a Premier League season letting in as many goals as we did last year and expect to survive. It was nearer 70 than the 40-50 most people expect. We have to improve that."