Claude Puel sets top eight target for his Southampton side
Last Updated: 06/04/17 5:03pm
Claude Puel has admitted that defeat at West Brom could seriously damage Southampton's chances of a top-eight Premier League finish.
Boss Puel has challenged Saints to pull off a result at The Hawthorns to avoid losing any more ground in the league shake-up.
Ninth-placed Saints, who trail West Brom in eighth by seven points, hold two games in hand over Tony Pulis' side.
Last term Saints finished sixth to qualify for the Europa League, but the south coast club trail sixth-placed Manchester United by 17 points with nine games remaining.
"It will be important to take points at West Brom, or one point minimum for our ambitions for the end of the season," said Puel.
"The win against Crystal Palace [on Wednesday] was very important in terms of the result because many teams behind us also took points.
"I was happy yesterday because with all those scenarios the team kept a good spirit and kept going always, and in difficulties they gave a good answer.
"It will be the same against West Brom and with the schedule afterwards too."
Southampton will be without the suspended Oriol Romeu for the trip to the west Midlands, and Manolo Gabbiadini, Ryan Bertrand, Steven Davis and Sofiane Boufal are all doubts.
Romeu will start a two-match ban after collecting 10 bookings, and Davis suffered an ankle problem against Palace.
Bertrand missed the Palace win with a hamstring complaint and Boufal a muscle injury, while Gabbiadini is still battling a groin issue.
"Romeu is suspended, we will see with Davies if he can play, with his ankle injury," said Puel.
"And I don't know for example if Gabbiadini can participate with the squad for this game. It's difficult for the moment to prepare this game. With Bertrand, Davis and Boufal, all these players I don't know about for the moment."