Albion must find ‘killer instinct’ - Ismaël

Valérien Ismaël

Valérien Ismaël insists his players must find a “killer instinct” in order to overcome the rigours of a Sky Bet Championship promotion battle.

The unbeaten Baggies are third in the table, following a frustrating week in which they drew all three fixtures, being held at The Hawthorns by Millwall and Derby before picking up a point at Preston.

Despite a dominant performance at Deepdale, Albion had to settle for a draw on the road after they fell behind to a deflected Ben Whiteman strike, with Matty Phillips heading in a leveller just before the break.

And Val believes his side must be more clinical if they are to succeed in their “fight” for promotion.

“I think it was another tough game,” said the gaffer.

"I think when you see the result tonight, it shows the quality in the Championship. It is a fight all the time from the first to the last minute. You need to embrace the fight first and after to force your game plan. 

"Today I think it was the exactly same picture as it was against Derby. We played well with a great attitude, the opponent shoot once on the goal with a deflected goal but we came back in the game and we completely dominated the second half.

"I think today we need to work on the quality of our last pass. The crossing quality was not good enough today and when you get the chance you need to score. We have a big, big chance to win the game at the end. This is what we need to work on the next week to win games. Otherwise, the mentality and the desire is there to win.

"It is a long season and you will never be given something for free, you need to fight for it. But now we know what is going on against us. We need all the time from the first minute to put a lot of energy in and when you get the chance you have to score otherwise it will be difficult.

“The goal gave us the momentum on our side. A little bit more frustration for the opponent and you saw straight away in the second half we were really present and we forced and tried everything. The last pass quality and the crosses quality was not good enough today. We have the quality to have the good crosses and we need to work on it for the next game.

“We continued on the same way as we did against Derby in the second half. If you see the statistics for the intensity, we put our energy in the game, but when you get the chance you need to score. We need to work on that killer instinct. The guys need to develop that killer instinct now. We need to find a way, and if we can not find a way we need to make a way.

"Jordan Hugill gave us more possibilities in the front three. He won headers and fought with the centre back, especially when the opponent pings long balls you need to clear the ball over the pressure lines. He did his jobs and at the end he has to score, but we need to work on it.

"We are still unbeaten. The performance is there, the mentality is there, for sure the opponent put in a good performance, and the opponent can do everything against us. We need to make sure that we find the right solution and we need to develop now that killer instinct.

"It doesn’t matter if we play home or away, we play our game. This is us. We try to play for a win in every game but you have an opponent and they have a game plan. We need to be more clinical and avoid mistakes. We know we can score at any time and when we get the chance, we have to score.

"For sure we wanted more points. When you see the score again it is a ‘surprise result’, but this is a tough league. One of the most difficult leagues in the world.

"Because we have dropped from the Premier League it is not like everything will be easy and you can drive like you are on the motorway and you will be promoted. It is a fight. We need to embrace the fight. It is a long journey in the Championship, but we know exactly what we have to do. We have time to recover now and we go again next week."

  • Ismaël