Express & Star

West Brom boss Carlos Corberan relaxed on Josh Maja call for Southampton play-off return

Albion boss Carlos Corberan is not concerned about his attacking options heading to Southampton on Friday as he makes a decision on the involvement of Josh Maja.

Last updated

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

Striker Maja has battled back from ankle ligament damage for much of the campaign and despite involvement over the last month was a surprise omission from the first-leg matchday squad.

Corberan explained after the 0-0 draw at The Hawthorns the striker was not physically ready even for a place on the bench against a team of Saints’ calibre – and added at Wednesday's press conference he was relaxed about making the call.

Only available recognised striker Brandon Thomas-Asante got the nod to lead the line last Sunday instead of winger Jed Wallace. Versatile forward Andi Weimann, on loan from Bristol City, was drafted to the bench in place of Maja.

“No, I have more important decisions to make!” Corberan smiled about including Maja. “If I didn’t have a striker, the decision with Josh would be done. If I have another striker, the decision is different.

“I am not worried because I am going to have a striker anyway, so there are more decisions which are more important than that one.

“We signed Josh Maja as a number nine. He is a part of the process and he is an important player for us and he will be a very important player for us, but there are moments in which you need to see where you are right now.

“It’s a decision that I still didn’t make, but I will analyse the week and how the other players are and I will do the ordinary process I do to make a decision on this.”

The Baggies boss confirmed Albion have no fresh fitness concerns ahead of the decisive second leg at St Mary’s.

He added of striker Maja, who underwent ankle surgery in December: “He’s always trained well. He’s not one who trains bad or plays bad. The only thing is how many opportunities he’s had to compete against Championship players – and not just Championship players, but one of the best teams who are going to make you defend in attack.

“You need to press, counter-press, attack, counter attack at Southampton. You can only go to Wembley if you manage every single game moment.

“You need to defend well, attack well, press well, defend the set pieces, attack the set pieces. There are many things you need to do well to arrive to Wembley. Just having your quality as a player is not enough. You need to be in 100 per cent conditions to compete in this game.”