Swansea v West Brom - match preview

It’s going to be a clash between two sides with very different footballing philosophies.

Valerien Ismael (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Valerien Ismael (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

But while Swansea boss Russell Martin sees the game differently to Valerien Ismael – the Frenchman has nothing but admiration for his fellow head coach.

Very much a possession-based team, Swansea keep the ball down and play out from the back at every opportunity.

Simply put, they are under instruction not to go long.

Albion though want to counter- press. They want to get the ball into dangerous areas as quickly as possible and then use their energy and intensity to win second balls.

This season, Ismael has had to adapt somewhat with opposing teams happy to let the Baggies have the ball so they can’t press with the same aggression.

Going forward, though, he believes Albion will be an out-of- possession team.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect what Martin is trying to do at Swansea.

“I like the kind of manager that has a clear vision of how they want to play,” Ismael said.

“Instead of making changes, it’s about how do you find solutions to stay true to yourself.

“This is my way to think and I think in this point we (he and Martin) are on the same way.

“The difference is that we know, long-term West Bromwich Albion will be a more out-of-possession team.

“That will be our main focus.

“At the minute it’s clear we have opponents where we have more of the ball so we have to have solutions and become a complete team.

“The wintertime will come so the pitch won’t be good. If you are only possession based you can have some trouble when the pitch is really bad making those simple passes.

“But we know we are adaptable, we move – we want to be the complete team.”

Albion head to Wales tonight looking to make it back-to-back wins in the Championship following their derby victory over Blues.

That match has drawn criticism from some fans for a lack of entertainment with Lee Bowyer’s side heading to The Hawthorns intent on frustrating Ismael’s men.

But Ismael believes his players deserve a lot of credit for finding a way to win the game.

“It was a difficult game, we had a clear plan but the opponent had a clear plan and it’s important in such a game to stay patient,” Ismael said. “In the game, we had 67 per cent possession. We had 406 passes in the game.

“The league average at the minute is 390.

“You see clearly when you have got the ball you have to be patient when the opponent comes and puts up a wall with five centre-backs.

“It’s all about finding a way and making a way and we did it.

“It’s clear to have a game to enjoy you need to have two teams who want to play football – at least one wants to play and one wants to press. But we will have games like that throughout the season. It won’t be the last one.”

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News