Valerien Ismael: West Brom 'a step closer' to where they need to be

Albion boss Valerien Ismael hailed his players and said that his side are 'a step closer' to where they want to be for the Championship season.

Valerien Ismael (AMA)
Valerien Ismael (AMA)

The Baggies put in a solid showing at Vicarage Road against Premier League opposition in Watford, holding their own and creating chances in Ismael's preferred intense 3-4-3 formation.

Grady Diangana came closest to scoring, and whilst his side did give up several good chances, Ismael was happy with the performance and commitment to his style of play.

"We are really delighted with the performance." he said.

"They're buying the philosophy, we put the right intensity into the game - as long as we had the strength to continue that way - we created a lot of problems for Watford."

"We won a lot of balls, we created a lot of chances and at the end it was clear that the strength became less, but after we made some changes and this is a good thing now, when we change the team we can keep the intensity high until the end.

"I think we took another step closer to where we want to be in two weeks. It gives us a good feeling.

"We are moving forward, in the right direction. I think we can see that everyone works hard together, everyone is committed to the way to play and it's a great feeling for us to produce such a game."

Ismael's side noticeably tired midway through the second half, but following a raft of changes, the side picked up once again in the final minutes and finished the brighter of the sides.

The Frenchman believes his side's fitness levels are closing in on where he feels they need to be for the Championship season, but also says that more games are required to ensure they are in peak condition for the opening day fixture against Bournemouth.

"I think when we see the numbers we get against Sheffield Wednesday and today again, I feel we've come closer to where we want to be for sure." he said.

"We need more games, you need to get the games to become fitter. It's clear that I feel that at the moment it's a great feeling, the guys they're all together, they adapt now with the way to train, the way to play and as I say today was a great test for us to see where we are and where we want to be.

"We conceded too many chances from Watford, but at the end of the day, I feel that we had a good game. We have to score goals, and I feel now that we need to keep going in that way."

In other news, Albion have confirmed that young goalkeeper Josh Griffiths has joined Lincoln City on-loan for the season.

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