Defender happy to raise the bar
West Bromwich Albion,
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Gareth McAuley believes West Brom deserve a lot of credit for their top ten finish but he still thinks the team can do even better.
The Baggies finished the campaign with club record Premier League haul of 49 points to secure an eighth place in Steve Clarke's first ever season as a manager.
McAuley is understandably proud of the squad's efforts, although a six-game winless run between December and February has left him with a small feeling of 'what if'.
The defender admits at the start of the season he would have taken such a big points return if he had been offered it, so the fact the Northern Ireland international can find an element of disappointment in their achievements is a clear indication of the progress they are making.
McAuley told the club's official website: "Eighth place is a fantastic achievement.
"We set out at the start of the season to better where we finished last year and we will probably set the same target next year when we come back for pre-season.
"Finishing in the top eight is a great achievement but there is a little bit of frustration that in the second half of the season we weren't as good and we could maybe have finished a bit higher if we had kept going in the second half.
"We just hit a period where we had a few injuries and a few key players out of the team. That carried on for a long period. When we got them back we picked up a bit of rhythm and picked up a few more points.
"So, if we can keep people fit and playing, hopefully we can carry on our form throughout the season, rather than just the first half or first three quarters.
"We got to 40 points ages ago. It seems like an eternity. We just couldn't get to 50, unfortunately, so I think when the dust settles in a couple of weeks we will be kicking ourselves because we threw points and games away really.
"When you look back over the season we could have been well over 50."