Alan Pardew admitted he stripped Jonny Evans of the West Brom captaincy before his side’s FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Southampton to “make a statement”.
Evans, who was one of four West Brom players to release a statement apologising for breaking a club curfew during their break in Barcelona this week, was still handed a starting berth at The Hawthorns.
Gareth Barry was the only other member of the quartet to start the match. Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill was named among West Brom’s substitutes but Jake Livermore was absent due to injury.
West Brom are investigating an “incident” that occurred during the camp while, according to Reuters, four West Brom players were questioned by police over the alleged theft of a taxi.
Evans did not wear the armband during the 2-1 loss on Saturday, with Gareth McAuley skippering the side, and Pardew admitted he took such action in response to events in Spain, while insisting he still remains loyal to the players involved.
“There was a problem in terms of selection because of the incident to go with my strongest team,” Pardew said. “But I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events.
“I was far from happy over them and made Gareth captain today.
“The guys’ professionalism, time-keeping and everything has been spot on. We’ve had this one crazy evening and it doesn’t reflect the work and the professionalism we do as a staff and as players.
“And that’s massively disappointing but it’s there now and we can’t get away from it.
“Craig Bellamy spoke last night [on Sky Sports’ The Debate] about when he was involved in a similar incident. It’s difficult for managers. Obviously I was furious with what happened but at the same time, I’ve got to stay faithful to the players and give them a chance to remedy the situation. Gareth Barry was okay today but I thought Jonny was very good actually in the circumstances.”
Goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic deemed Salomon Rondon’s spectacular volley irrelevant at The Hawthorns, as West Brom were knocked out of the cup.
Pardew is aware that focus now will be solely on Premier League survival, and insists he is the right man keep West Brom in the top flight next season.
“I’m an experienced manager,” Pardew added. “I’ve experienced this situation times before. Once I have been relegated, at Charlton, but I’ve got out of this situation before at Newcastle and Crystal Palace and I’m determined to get out of this one as well.
“Anybody who was here today will see that was a proper fight and a proper effort.
“We’ve got to stay injury free, we’ve got to try and get a win against Huddersfield and take that momentum into the next few games because three wins in this division as Swansea have proven, changes your position massively, and that’s what we need to do.”