Express & Star

Carlos Corberan: FA Cup exit missed chance to strengthen West Brom

Disappointed head coach Carlos Corberan feels Albion passed up a chance to strengthen themselves as a collective with the FA Cup exit at Bristol City.


The Baggies put in arguably their worst performance under the Spaniard to limp out of the competition in the fourth round.

Corberan once more used the FA Cup as an opportunity to rotate his troops – though not to the extremities of the two third-round ties against National League Chesterfield.

The 39-year-old made five changes to the side beaten in the Championship at Burnley eight days earlier. With the final hours of the transfer window still up in the air, he was keen to present chances to the squad players who may be required in the league run-in to fight for the play-offs.

The hope was that some individuals, certainly in attacking areas like Karlan Grant and Tom Rogic, would grasp their opportunities following the news Matt Phillips is unlikely to play again this season due to surgery.

Corberan was satisfied with what he felt was two players for every position prior to the Phillips setback. That injury late on against Chesterfield, though, caused a rethink. Grant and Grady Diangana have not yet grabbed the bull by the horns in Phillips’ absence.

None of Saturday’s five inductees – other than perhaps Adam Reach at left-back – emerged from Ashton Gate with any credit, though neither did the first-team regulars playing around them. This irritated Corberan, who was hoping the collective strength of his squad would be boosted by the match minutes and another chance to further burgeon relationships.

The head coach said: “I think it’s very clear to be a competitive team in the Championship and to be a competitive team in the cup, and other competitions you play, you need one squad with options, and everyone ready to help the team.

“I have a squad – if I don’t take the injury of Phillips – I have two players in each position. For me this is the side to have to compete.

“But for the injury, or whatever, it changes a little bit the situation.

“But it is necessary that every player is ready to help the team. At the end in the games you are going to need all of the squad.”

Corberan continued: “When you make changes of course you have the risk that some players who are not playing don’t have the same habits and relationships with the team-mates, but it is a necessary step.

“For me, today was a game to strengthen ourselves as a squad and we didn’t do, that’s why we lost, we didn’t compete and perform in the level that we need to, to keep going in the competition.”

Asked if he felt his five changes – or any Baggies player – did themselves justice in Bristol the boss answered: “I understand the expectation with players who have not played play.

“But I cannot put individually the point to anyone. As a team we didn’t show well what the game was demanding. That’s why we lost the game.”

Corberan is a passionate coach and said of responding from the Ashton Gate disappointment with hard work.

“Of course, this is my work and I love my work,” he said. “To solve these problems and put (in) all my commitment, it’s part of football.

“But it’s true we should’ve given another view to our fans and of our club, different to what we gave today.”