Valerien Ismael has bemoaned the quality, or the lack of, that West Brom displayed in the final third in what was a disjointed afternoon in Preston.
Albion were made to settle for a point at Deepdale, thanks to Matt Phillips’ equaliser in first half stoppage time – by doing so, he rectified his error that had led to Ben Whiteman’s opener.
Yet barring one very good opening at the death for Jordan Hugill, who blew his chance to mark his first start with a winning goal, the Baggies rarely looked like worrying Preston’s back-line.
It appears to be a recurring – and worrying – trend. Albion haven’t been too troubled at the back in recent weeks, but they certainly haven’t been scoring or creating chances with the same regularity as in the very earliest stages of this season – well, apart from 45 minutes of unrewarded pressure against Derby, anyway.
There have been suggestions that opponents have grown wise to Albion’s approach to games, and Ismael himself has indicated that his players must adapt better, but the overriding feeling at Deepdale was one of frustration that Albion make better use of the ball in the Lilywhites’ defensive third.
“I think it was the same picture as against Derby – it’s as simple as that,” Ismael said. “The opponent had two shots on target and scored a deflected goal.
“They took the lead, we came back into the game just before half-time which was really important – it gave us some momentum. In the second half it was exactly like Derby.
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“We tried everything, we showed the right mentality and that is the good thing. What we have seen is that we need to work more on the last third. The problem is quality of the last pass, the quality of the cross – it was not good enough, and when you get a chance to score you have to take it – we have to develop that killer instinct.
“That is the last step that we need to do working with the guys – to win games you need to score. We create chances, we had a big chance to score and we need to develop that killer instinct.
“This is the Championship. You see the results today, surprise results. It’s one of the toughest league in the world. Just because you have dropped from the Premier League, you’re not going to drive on the motorway and it’s a freeway for promotion.
“It’s a fight, we need to take the fight. It’s early in the season but we have a clear picture of what is going on against us.”