Ismaël on feeding off Hawthorns 'energy'

Val Hawthorns

Valérien Ismaël wants his players to feed off the “power and the energy” a raucous Hawthorns crowd can create when they host Bristol City this weekend.

The Baggies, who suffered just their second defeat this season at Swansea on Wednesday, will be targeting a return to winning ways in the Sky Bet Championship when the Robins come to town on Saturday afternoon (ko 3pm).

Albion have collected an impressive 14 points from their six home matches so far this term, winning their last two against QPR and Birmingham City respectively. 

And the boss believes playing in B71 is a “massive” advantage, saying the connection between the players on the pitch and the crowd in the stands can help propel his team closer to three points.

Val said: “It would be great to have an instant impact in the game on Saturday, such as scoring early like we did at Swansea.

“We need to be really calm and clear in our decisions and match that with the desire to go out and get three points.

“It’s massive for us to play at home.

“We know the power and the energy we can create at home.

“I hope that’s the case on Saturday when we are back there.

“We need to start the game in a strong way. An early goal will help set that energy free and give everyone confidence.

“If we can’t get that early goal then I expect us to have to be patient at times.

“I expect the opponent to come here and try and make us frustrated. We need to be prepared for that. 

“The solution for that is an early goal. If it doesn’t happen, then we must stay calm.”

Val Training

The boss added: “When you look at the statistics, we’ve only conceded 11 goals in 13 games. 

“Six of those 11 goals have come directly from our mistakes, two of which have come in the games we have lost to Stoke and Swansea.

“It’s important to cut those mistakes and those goals out.

“On one hand it’s good because we can change that by stopping the mistakes, and on the other hand, if we can be ruthless and stay defensively strong, it gives us a great chance of winning more games.

“We spoke with the players about it.

“I think we can be better in transition too. Against Swansea we had over 20 situations in transition and were one pass away from creating a chance, but we were too sloppy in possession.

“If we can improve in this area then we will make our opponents run after the ball further and more often, as well as giving us opportunities to create more chances.

“This is the main focus at the minute. We need to improve. 

“It’s still a process for us. We haven’t reached our full power.

“We have some big players to come back into the team and we have been making too many mistakes recently.

“It’s my job now to work with the staff and the players to give them that confidence.”

Valérien Ismaël has called for Albion to show ‘ruthless’ streak against QPR on Friday night

Karlan Grant has caught the eye in recent weeks, bagging five goals in as many games.

The forward will be hoping to hit his seventh of the season against the Robins on Saturday, and Ismaël says he’s been particularly impressed with Grant’s mentality since arriving in the summer.

“When I came I spoke with Karlan and he was clear in his mind what he wanted from this season.

“He wanted to prove his value and he used the change of manager to tell himself it was a restart to his life at the club.

“We started on the right foot and he has taken his chance.

“We need to keep on building his momentum.

“I’m delighted we have a player who can score goals at any time.

“His form is great for him and his mentality.

“He’s proving his worth.”

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