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WEST BROMWICH ALBION manager Darren Moore heaped praise on his opposite number Nathan Jones despite inflicting a third successive defeat on Stoke City.
In a game of few clear-cut chances Dwight Gayle scored the only goal of the game on 25 minutes when Stefan Johansen, on loan at Albion from Fulham, picked out an unmarked Ahmed Hegazi at the back post with a free-kick from 40 yards.
The Egyptian crossed the ball into the six-yard box for Gayle to head home his 16th league goal of the season.
The result moved the West Brom to within four points of the Championship automatic promotion places as they look to make an immediate return to the Premier League following relegation last season.
But after the game Moore admitted it had been a tough test for his Baggies side, having seen a different approach from Stoke under Jones who took up the reigns at Stanley Matthews Way at the beginning of January after the sacking of Gary Rowett.
He said: “I can see the work Nathan is doing with them, they’re getting better, so I’m really pleased to come away with the three points because that was a tough game.
“This Stoke team is very different to where they were at three weeks ago. There won’t be many coming here [to Stoke] now and winning.
“I certainly feel they’re a different team even to when they won against Leeds — they’ve gone up another level.
“They’re only ever going to get better. They’re a good team, the rotation they showed at times was excellent.
“Every single one of our players off the ball had to bring their A game today and they did.”
Jones was also optimistic about the future despite the defeat. He said: “I thought we deserved something out of it. It was a really good football match.
“They [West Brom] are a really good side. But that’s a platform for us. I’m not putting a positive spin on things because we didn’t win.
“It’s a positive performance. It’s the best performance since I’ve been here.”
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