Ismaël talks reaching ‘full potential’, Grant’s goals & Cardiff clash

Ismael Cardiff

Valérien Ismaël says he’s excited by the prospect of seeing Albion reach their “full potential” after a nine-game unbeaten start to the season.

The Baggies head to Cardiff City on Tuesday (ko 7.45pm) knowing three points would lift them to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table, ahead of leaders AFC Bournemouth who don’t play until the following night.

Ismaël’s men found their winning touch once again with a 2-1 triumph over QPR in their most recent match, having previously had to settle for three consecutive draws despite dominating clashes with Millwall, Derby and Preston. 

And the boss insists he has seen plenty of positive signs in the opening months of his reign at The Hawthorns, but believes there are extra gears his side can move up into as they search for “consistency” in their promotion push. 

Ismael Millwall

Val said: “I expect us to get better and better.

“You never reach your full power or your full potential after only a few games.

“With this team, we have quality, desire and plenty of possibilities.

“We are not exactly where we want to be but we also know that we have plenty more to give, despite sitting in a strong position in the league.

“We have room to improve. We want to improve further. 

“We are missing some key players at the minute as well.

“We need to find the right balance and we need to try and keep picking up points consistently.

“I recognise a lot of positive signs. I’ve seen a great mentality within the group and a big desire.

“We are on the right track. Now it’s about consistency and putting another winning run together.

“The focus is there. The win against QPR gave the guys the reward which they didn’t get in the three games before that.”

Ismaël MOTM nomination

Tuesday’s opponents Cardiff, managed by former Wolves, Ipswich and Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy, sit 13th having lost four of their last five games in the league.

The Bluebirds were tipped to be play-off contenders before a ball was kicked this term and Ismaël is expecting a stern challenge at the Cardiff City Stadium. 

“It’s a tough game in front of us.

“We know exactly what to expect from Tuesday’s clash with Cardiff. We know it will be a demanding game in terms of physicality.

“We will focus on our strengths and try to nullify theirs.

“A big part of playing against Cardiff is to have belief in your own style and a real sense of togetherness to help support each other.

“We have a huge desire to win the game. 

“We got a good victory against QPR in our last match and we really want to go on a little run.”