West Brom boss Alan Irvine is no showman

With the opening-day fanfare long faded out into the distance, West Brom boss Alan Irvine is keen to crack on.

Soccer : Barclays Premier League - West Bromwich Albion

The Albion head coach openly admits he is no showman and is unlikely to be spotted ranting and raving on the touchline.

But after a summer dominated by the news of his appointment, Irvine admits to having thoroughly enjoyed his first Premier League game in charge.

Even so, in his mind it was always a case of one down, 37 to go and his sights were quickly re-adjusted to this Saturday’s trip to Southampton.

“I’m not somebody who looks for that,” he said when asked about the excitement of his first game in charge at The Hawthorns.

“I’m not a showman or someone who looks to run up and down the touchline or will be on the telly all the time. It just isn’t me.

“I like being fairly quiet and reserved as far as that’s concerned.

“Having said all that, I really enjoyed the whole thing on Saturday. What is good is we can now get on with things.

“The fans would have been a bit apprehensive about what’s coming and probably even more apprehensive after five minutes.

“But hopefully there were enough encouraging signs and hopefully we can build on those encouraging signs. We can’t rest on that of course, we need to move on.

“It was a promising start from my point of view.

“It could have been much, much better – but I’d have been delighted with that performance before we kicked off.”

One area which has been subject of much discussion this week is conceding late goals.

Seb Larsson’s leveller five minutes from time brought back haunting memories of last season for supporters, who saw their side consistently struggle to hold a lead.

Irvine preferred to throw the focus on the way players responded and fought back after Lee Cattermole’s fifth-minute opener for the Black Cats, but admits conceding late on is not something he wants to become a habit.

“It’s something we’ve talked about and something we’ve worked on in training,” he said.

“It happened and it can become a habit and trait. It happens to all teams and sometimes you can score late goals too. What we need to do is make sure conceding late doesn’t become a habit.”

While accepting you can never fully re-create the nervous tension of defending a late lead, Irvine revealed there are ways of matching the physical strain.

“What you can do is play games where you can overload and say to the team who are now outnumbered ‘you’ve got so long to play against an overload’,” he said.

“You then at least have the situation where they’re under pressure for that amount of time – and how do you relieve that pressure.

“You can practice that, but what you can’t practice is people being at the end of the game, with five minutes to go, and they’re tired and under pressure.

“It’s difficult to get that perfect situation. You just have to try the best you can. A lot of it will come down to mentality.”

Irvine is satisfied with how his players have taken instructions on board but, understandably, still sees plenty of areas where they can improve as they prepare to visit a Southampton side who – like Albion – are led by a new boss and are bedding in a host of new players.

“I learned that the boys can take on instructions and put them into practice,” added Irvine. “There were some things we did well.

“There were other things that we have worked on that weren’t quite what we wanted from them. We won’t say what those are because I don’t want to be giving (Southampton boss) Ronald Koeman too much information. But it was great to see them take the things we’ve done on the training ground and put them into practice.

“I was delighted they showed the strength of character to recover from a bad setback. But they brushed that off and carried on.

“I’ve been told since I came in that we don’t handle setbacks well, yet last week we did.”