Valerien Ismael: West Brom are on the right track

Boss Valerien Ismael insists Albion are on the right track despite disappointing home draws in their last two outings.

Valerien Ismael (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)
Valerien Ismael (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

The Baggies flew out of the blocks at the beginning of the campaign with Ismael quickly implementing his high pressing style of play.

But there is no doubt their opponents have found a way to play against them in their last three outings – with Peterborough, Millwall and Derby all going direct so Albion can’t press in the same way.

At London Road they got away with it – with Semi Ajayi netting a 94th-minute winner.

But they struggled to create chances against Millwall and were held to a draw.

They also struggled for creativity in the first half against Derby.

In the second half, though, the Baggies created multiple goalscoring opportunities after Ismael told them to play with a bit more composure.

And while ultimately they didn’t score, the boss says that proves his side is learning how to break down teams who set up with the sole purpose of frustrating his side.

“Things are going in the right direction,” the Frenchman said.

“Yes, the opponent now is trying to do something else. Opponents don’t want to play football against us. They start with a point before the game and they want to fight for that point. They don’t want to take any risks.

“What we need to do is adapt to that. And in the second half against Derby we had so many chances.

“We need to make sure we find the right balance and the right message to make sure we can score.

“But from the Millwall game, that was a step ahead. We were more clinical.

“We had so many situations to score. The energy and the attitude was right in the second half.

“Now we have to make sure we play with that energy from the very first minute.

“But the season is very long, we are on the right track.”

Ismael believes Albion will be in a lot of games this season where their opponent is happy to sit back and battle for a point.

“We will face this every week now – I can tell you that now,” he added.

“The opponent will try an frustrate us, take time from the clock, fall down.

“We need to avoid this, to keep the momentum going, to keep the energy. We did that in the second half against Derby – that is what I recognise from Millwall.

“The game plan from Derby was exactly the same as Millwall’s. Now we know what we have to do to have a better impact on the game.”

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