Valerien Ismael: West Brom's emphatic win over Sheffield United will give us belief

Valerien Ismael hopes Albion’s players will have added belief in his high-intensity style of the play following their emphatic win over Sheffield United.

Valerien Ismael
Valerien Ismael

The Baggies thumped Slavisa Jokanovic’s side at The Hawthorns last night with a Jack Robinson own goal and strikes from Dara O’Shea, Alex Mowatt and Callum Robinson seeing them run out 4-0 winners.

It was a victory just as emphatic as the scoreline suggests with Albion – as Ismael demands - pushing for more goals with 30 minutes remaining despite having a four-goal lead.

The Frenchman was appointed Albion head coach in the summer and is known for his high pressing, high energy, philosophy – which has become known as ‘Val-ball.’

And after an outstanding start to the season which has seen the Baggies draw at Bournemouth and beat Luton before thumping Sheffield United, the boss hopes the players are now starting to see the rewards of their hard work.

“We were ruthless,” Ismael said when asked to sum up his side’s performance against Sheffield United.

“Defensively we were very strong. The principles we demand were there, the running was there. It’s a great feeling.

“We need the win to cement the belief in the heads of the players. Each win you can get, as quickly as possible, we will believe quicker.

“I think the Sheffield United performance is the right step for us to continue to work with the guys.”

Asked why the Baggies played so well, Ismael said: “We were really focused on the game and the game plan.

“We knew that we could score at any time, that we were really strong at set-pieces.

“When you know that you have belief when you start the game. And we started the game well, we pressed well.

“We kept the intensity throughout the 90 minutes. The opponent remained under pressure for 90 minutes plus.

“In the first-half we frustrated the opponent. And when you see that it gives you confidence.

“We told the guys at half-time to stay on the front foot and to learn from the Luton game.

“We wanted to go for the second goal, and if we get the second goal we wanted to go for three. This is our mentality.

“It was a great feeling to see that identity and the response from the crowd was brilliant.”

Two of Albion’s goals against the Blades came from long Darnell Furlong throws - with the wing-backs delivery’s into the box having caused havoc in all three games so far.

And Ismael revealed he identified Furlong’s threat from throws as soon as he arrived at the club.

“We work on set-pieces, we have our specialist with Adam Murray (assistant boss).

“He did a great job for me last season at Barnsley and it is now continuing with West Brom.

“We recognised as soon as we came here the possibilities we could get with Darnell and the long throw and with Conor (Townsend).

“It is all about organisation, our positioning in the box to put the opponent under stress.

“I think you need to use it, if you have such a weapon it can open the game.

“The last two games it was the opener for us. We need to be that strong on set-pieces.”

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