Carlos Corberán's Play-Off semi-final first leg verdict

Carlos Corberán is interviewed after Albion's draw against Southampton

Carlos Corberán believes the 0-0 scoreline between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton in the first leg of the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off semi-final at The Hawthorns was a “fair” one.

Both the Baggies and the Saints had very good opportunities to score on what was a blisteringly hot day in the West Midlands, but huge saves from Alex Palmer and Alex McCarthy meant the match ended goalless. 

The boss thought the momentum in the encounter swung a few times, with each side dominating different periods.

Corberán says his players handled the tie with plenty of maturity and insists they’ll take plenty of confidence from the performance and the clean sheet ahead of Friday’s second leg at St. Mary’s Stadium. 

Carlos said: “I think it’s been a very equal, very balanced and very tough game. 

“We knew the level of the opponent we were facing, but we also knew our level too.

“We played very, very well at the start of the game, maybe for 15-20 minutes. We created a great level of togetherness in our stadium and we made it difficult for the opponent to compete and deal with the tempo.

“After that they started to bring the balance back and they had more of the ball and they tried to dominate the ball which is the way we know they like to play.

“In the second half, they started better than us but once 15 minutes had passed, we adapted very well and defended better, pressed well and we were more aggressive.

“We also recovered the feeling that we could attack and create chances too. 

“At the end of it all, I think the result is a fair one. 

“You can never know for sure before a match which type of game you are going to play. What we did know, was that we were playing against one team with a strong identity in attack. 

Carlos Corberán with his arms in the air on the touchline at The Hawthorns during the Southampton game

“They’re a team who normally have a lot more of the ball than their opponents and right now they are playing with a line of five at the back.

“When you play against a line of five, you have to be a lot more patient in attack. With a line of four, there are more gaps. 

“The key for me today was to attack as much as we could because you defend better when you have to defend less. 

“The players played with a lot of maturity and understanding of the game. 

“Southampton are a difficult team to press. The more you press them, the more chances they are going to create. They are a team built to attack using your press and then coming forward at speed. You need to have a strong mentality and resilience to not play their game and stay compact and solid.

“I think both teams could’ve scored a couple of goals today. We’ve taken confidence from the result because in the two games against them this season, we lost. We have not lost today.

“We have achieved a clean sheet and it’s given us the possibility to go for the game next week. 

“We ned to manage the away leg in the best way possible now.

“In big games you need to play as a big team. We have to try and dominate all of the key aspects and we need to have personality.” 

  • Corberan