But assistant head coach can't fault players' commitment as he hands over reins
KEITH Downing put Albion’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton down to a frustrating afternoon with the ball - as new head coach Pepe Mel watched on from the stands.
The Baggies always remained in the game throughout the St Mary’s Stadium encounter – but were missing the creative spark to cause the Saints any real problems.
And Adam Lallana’s 66th-minute strike just proved enough to clinch all three points for the hosts after Shane Long missed a golden opportunity in the last minute.
“Without the ball we restricted Southampton to not many opportunities – not clear-cut opportunities anyway,” said Downing.
“We’re all disappointed with what we did with the ball.
“I think we were a little bit frustrated today.
“Credit to the opposition; they don’t give you much time and press you as soon as you lose it.
“Our regain football in terms of the first or second pass wasn’t what we wanted – first-half in particular.
“When the goal went in we changed the shape and threw a little bit more caution to the wind, and it opened up.
“We got more into the game as it progressed.
“I’m sure Pepe will work on us in terms of possession and creativity.
“But I thought there was a lot of commitment in terms of the team defensively and some good performances throughout the team without the ball.
“We were just a bit frustrating with the ball today.”
He added: “It was a good opportunity for Shane.
“But credit to the keeper he spread himself well.
“He was in the right place at the right time but he’s disappointed not to score because he usually sticks them away.”