Valerien Ismael details two key issues West Brom need to fix ahead of Coventry City clash

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Valerien Ismael details two key issues West Brom need to fix ahead of Coventry City clash
© Provided by Football League World Championship – West Bromwich Albion v Hull City

West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael believes his side need to regain their confidence and work on their finishing in training this week amid their underwhelming form, speaking to the Express and Star.

Although the Baggies have stayed reasonably strong defensively, conceding just twice in their last five matches and keeping consecutive clean sheets against Blackpool and Nottingham Forest last week, they have gone winless in their past four games in a real setback to their automatic promotion prospects.

This poor run has largely been due to Albion’s lack of cutting edge in the final third, wasting good opportunities at Bloomfield Road and against Steve Cooper’s men as they were only able to secure 0-0 draws in both clashes.

Having plenty of chances to win all three points against the Seasiders in midweek, they failed to improve on their conversion rate going forward at home to Forest as the likes of Darnell Furlong and Jordan Hugill both missed golden opportunities to open the scoring after Grady Diangana had his shot well-saved by Brice Samba.

For a side that went unbeaten in their first league games of the 2021/22 campaign and previously looked like firm favourites for automatic promotion, this has inevitably been a blow to players’ confidence in the West Brom camp.

And this is something manager Ismael wants to rebuild ahead of their clash with fellow promotion candidates Coventry City at the weekend, with Mark Robins’ men guaranteed to leapfrog the West Midlands outfit in the table if they come out of this weekend’s tie victorious.

Looking ahead to a full week of training, the Baggies’ boss said: “Our issue is just to cross the line”.

“We had four big chances (against Forest) with Darnell Furlong, with Diangana, with Karlan Grant and at the very end with Jordan Hugill.

“The picture at the minute is that we’re struggling to score goals. We need to work on it. The good thing now is that we play Saturday, Saturday, in a good rhythm.

“We can recover well and Friday was our third game in seven days.

“We can get the confidence back in training and to put us in a real situation and to develop the desire to score the goals.”

The Verdict:

Their inability to be clinical in front of goal hasn’t been an issue for just a couple of games, this has been a chronic problem at various stages for Ismael’s side so there is an understandable cause for concern at The Hawthorns.

Not only have they failed to capitalise on slip-ups from AFC Bournemouth and Fulham and close in on the top two, but others in the promotion mix are now starting to catch up with Albion, making a win on Saturday a vital statement of intent for a side looking to re-establish themselves as a firm promotion favourite.

Although West Brom’s boss can be criticised for his style of play, the chances his side have created in recent games means the players have to take some responsibility because they have wasted some great opportunities to put more points on the board.

Many will rightly look to January as a time when the third-placed outfit can strengthen in the forward department, with Hugill failing to score anywhere near enough goals as the club’s main striker.

But with the Norwich loanee, Karlan Grant, Callum Robinson, Matt Phillips and others at their disposal, they shouldn’t have to rely on a new addition or two to get back into goalscoring form, so it’s up to them to step up ahead of the winter transfer window.

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