Ismaël hails 'brilliant team spirit'

Val post-Reading

Valérien Ismaël praised his side’s “brilliant” team spirit as they overcame Reading at The Hawthorns despite missing several senior players.

Albion secured back-to-back Sky Bet Championship victories thanks to Callum Robinson’s second-half strike in a game which they dominated from the first minute until the last.

Matt Clarke, Semi Ajayi, Cedric Kipre and Conor Townsend returned positive COVID-19 tests, while Grady Diangana missed Saturday’s victory through illness. 

Matty Phillips, Robert Snodgrass, Ken Zohore, Kean Bryan and Dara O’Shea were also absent through injury, but the battling Baggies produced a determined display and comfortably collected three vital points.

And the boss was understandably delighted with the way his group handled not only the afternoon at The Hawthorns, but also the whole week which he described as a “challenging one”.

Reading report
Callum Robinson scored the winner on Saturday against Reading

Val said: “It’s been such a challenging week.

“Every day there has been a new case or a new player with symptoms.

“We knew we had to perform and to find the right solution for the problems we had before the game.

“We picked the starting XI at the very last moment, but we knew the 11 players who started the game were experienced players.

“We had won games with all of the 11 players on the pitch before. 

“I think we were on the front foot from the first minute. We controlled the game throughout the 90 minutes and we should have scored more goals.

“Even with a short lead, we were defensively strong and we kept another clean sheet.

“It was a massive team performance with brilliant team spirit.

“The guys showed a huge desire to overcome the situation.

“We had four or five defenders missing for various reasons so it was a huge headache.

“The good thing with us is that we have our principles and we can always show them.

“We looked at the profiles we needed for each position and we were able to pick the team for Reading using that profile.

“It’s a great feeling. I congratulated the guys for the win and I told them we have to go and win again now at Barnsley next Friday night.”

  • Ismaël