Carlos Corberán says his squad have had an “excellent” two weeks in terms of their tactical, technical and physical development ahead of the resumption of the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.
The Baggies return to action with a trip to Bristol City’s Ashton Gate this weekend following the first pause of the new term owing to international football taking centre stage.
Corberán has had a fortnight to work with his whole group minus midfielder Jayson Molumby and defender Semi Ajayi who represented the Republic of Ireland and Nigeria respectively, as well as the long-term injury absentees.
And the boss believes it’s been an incredibly beneficial period and says the Baggies will head to the West Country “fit and ready” for battle.
Carlos said: “The last two weeks have been very positive in terms of the work we have been able to develop.
“The fact we didn’t play a game last weekend allowed us to properly analyse the match against Huddersfield and to learn.
“When you don’t compete at the level that you want to, it’s always so important to learn. These two weeks have given us an opportunity to do that.
“The break has been beneficial for recovery as well as being able to put the work in on the training pitches.
“We finished the first week of work with a friendly game at the stadium between the squad. It helped us to not lose the competitive feeling and it also allowed us to get 90 minutes of action into plenty of players.
“This was really good, especially for some of the new players who haven’t played 90 minutes for us yet.
“The second week has been more about preparing for Bristol City on Saturday afternoon.
“The two weeks have been excellent in terms of the tactical, technical and physical development of the team.
“Every player is fit and ready.”
On Molumby and Ajayi, Corberan added: “Both Jayson Molumby and Semi Ajayi have returned from international duty ready to play in the next game.
“Semi Ajayi played 90 minutes in one of the games and Jayson Molumby played an hour in the first game they had which is important because they’ve had the chance to play.
“It’s especially important for Semi Ajayi because he couldn’t play for us in our last match so he has recovered that game time in an official match.
“With Jayson Molumby, he only played in one of the matches which means he’s had a good week of training in preparation for the Bristol City game.”
Albion have two victories, one draw and two defeats to their name from their opening five league fixtures of the 2023/24 season.
Corberán thinks his side are yet to hit the levels he wants them to and has challenged them to deliver more consistent performances.
“I think in terms of points, when we could have achieved 15, you always want to achieve the maximum number on offer. However, we need to be conscious of the challenge of the competition we are competing in.
“It’s always important to go out onto the pitch with the determination to win three points and represent this club in the way that we have to.
“For me, we haven’t shown the level that we want to as a football club yet because even in the games which we have won, we didn’t complete the full game in the level which we wanted to.
“We have to be aware of the competition and for me the level of the opponent has increased. That’s why this year the competition demands our best level even more.”
The trip to Bristol City will be the Baggies’ fourth away from The Hawthorns in all competitions so far this term, with Corberán’s men suffering two narrow defeats at Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, while securing a hard-fought point at Leeds United.
Albion have produced some excellent results at home under the Spaniard, but were beaten by Huddersfield Town in B71 in their most recent match.
And Corberán says that result can be an example of why the Championship can be so unpredictable in terms of scorelines defying momentum.
“We started the season away from home and unfortunately we couldn’t get a positive result at Blackburn.
“We played the second away game at Leeds and we managed to achieve a draw. We had to put a lot of effort in to achieve that draw.
“Now we have in front of us a game against Bristol City which is another opportunity to add three points and an opportunity which demands one level of reaction, a stronger reaction, because we come into it having lost at home.
“The fact we were having a good run before that game at home, it didn’t mean anything because Huddersfield came to The Hawthorns and won.
“The fact that our momentum away from home maybe isn’t the best, that also doesn’t mean anything. It only means we need to show a reaction and increase our concentration and competitiveness to be able to achieve the result we want to achieve.
“We don’t want to win that game because we haven’t won on the road yet this season. We want to win because we want to win every time we step onto the football pitch.
“We know Bristol City are a team who are working very, very well and have been since the second half of last season.
“They have lots of young players who play with a lot of energy and they are a very aggressive team.
“They are going to demand from us our highest level, but this is not a negative thing. It has to be part of our mindset before we play every single game.”