Express & Star

Carlos Corberan lays down post international break challenge to West Brom players

Boss Carlos Corberan has challenged his Albion squad to come back firing yet again following an international break.

Albion signed off for the international break with a promising display in a 2-1 defeat to in-form Southampton (Adam Fradgley/Getty)

The Baggies have so far signed off for the three pauses in domestic action – in September, October and November – with defeats.

Reverses at home to Huddersfield, 3-1 at Birmingham and 2-1 away to Southampton last Saturday paved the way for a fortnight off for international action.

But on the flip side, Albion, who have Grady Diangana, Semi Ajayi and Jayson Molumby away with their countries, have hit the ground running on the return to domestic duty. And now Corberan is hoping they can repeat the trick of the previous two international breaks – to respond for the better.

Albion managed five games unbeaten after returning to action following the shock late Huddersfield defeat. Likewise, they managed to put the St Andrew’s defeat behind them by taking 10 points from a possible 12.

“We need to do exactly what we’ve done in every international break,” Corberan said. “Unfortunately, every game before an international break we have lost, but at the same time after the break we’ve seen an improvement.

“If we are able to keep this performance as the standard, and we fix details, we are going to be a very competitive team. That’s the challenge in football – to keep the standards, against every type of opponent.”

Corberan gave his troops extended time off at the beginning of the current break, with an unbroken schedule coming up that includes the busy festive period.

Senior players not on international duty return to training tomorrow as the head coach turns the focus to high-flying Ipswich Town and a challenging run of fixtures.

Corberan reflected: “Every game has been different. Before the first international break, against Huddersfield, we didn’t make a good game. Against Birmingham we didn’t make a good game but today (at Southampton) we made a good game. Football shows us that we need to be perfect.

“Against Southampton, with the quality they have at the front of the attack, you need to be perfect.

“They play from the back, with the pressing you need to be perfect. In the first half we weren’t. We didn’t defend perfectly in the only opportunity they had and in the second half they pressed much better.

“We weren’t perfect in our finishing the opportunities we had and we were not perfect in the only time they had a chance – when they scored the second goal.

“That’s why it’s frustrating, because making very good things, we go home now with no points. As a coach, this feeling is higher than the good things your team has done.”