West Brom boss Valerien Ismael wants a ‘complete team’

Boss Valerien Ismael says Albion must improve in possession in order to become a ‘complete’ team.

Valerien Ismael Head Coach / Manager of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)
Valerien Ismael Head Coach / Manager of West Bromwich Albion. (AMA)

The Baggies made a flying start to the 2021/22 season with an opening day draw at Bournemouth followed by four consecutive wins. But they have struggled to break down Peterborough, Millwall and Derby in their last three outings.

Defensively, Ismael’s side has been excellent with the team averaging just seven shots against them per game – the lowest in the division. And going forward, only Fulham have created more chances according to expected goals data.

Ismael, though, believes his team will improve significantly if they are better on the ball.

“When I came here I said we want to be the top team in three areas,” he said. “We want to be top out of possession – we are top out of possession.

“We want to be top on set-pieces – we are top on set-pieces.

“And in possession – this is the area we can improve and where we have to improve to be a complete team.

“I think everything is normal at the minute for this stage of the season, but we do need to improve in some areas.”

“And we have the quality to do it.”

Meanwhile Ismael revealed defender Matt Clarke underwent a scan on his hamstring strain yesterday.

The defender was ruled out for six weeks when he picked up the injury against Blackburn on August 21.

Since then, though, the Brighton loanee has made significant progress.

And Ismael is now hopeful he will feature over the next fortnight.

“Clarkey’ looks really good at the minute,” the boss said.

“We are hopeful he can come back soon.

“He looks good, he will have a scan today (Friday) and we will go from there.

“But every sign in training, the sports science, he has reacted very well.

“It gives us a big hope that he could come back earlier than expected.

“But we need to wait for the scan and go from there.”

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