Ismaël: 'We’ve shown we can be flexible'

Val pre-Barnsley

Valérien Ismaël believes the Baggies are bound for Barnsley full of confidence after securing consecutive Sky Bet Championship victories.

Albion have picked up wins over Coventry City and Reading in the last two weeks, with the latter being achieved despite a host of first-team absentees owing to a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Several players played in unfamiliar positions against the Royals, including skipper Jake Livermore and fellow midfielder Adam Reach who both slotted in either side of Kyle Bartley in the back three. 

And the boss says plenty of positives can be taken from that particular performance and carried through into the second half of the campaign, including the flexibility on display in his squad.

Ismael Huddersfield

Val said: “The wins against Coventry and Reading have given us plenty of confidence. 

“We need to carry on. We have to win with consistency.

“Barnsley is the next step on our journey and we are focused on making it three wins from three.

“We told all the players at the start of the season that we would need them all. We told them chances would come throughout the season for them.

“Last week was an example of that. It was a great result and we had some players playing out of their preferred positions.

“We’ve shown we can be flexible as a squad and as a team.

“It was a massive performance and we can take plenty from that display into the rest of the season.

“I think it’s important to say that with all the chances we are creating, our conversion rate is still too low.

“We need to improve on that. We have so many possibilities and we can kill games off earlier.

“Anything can happen in the Championship. You can be 1-0 up in the last minute having dominated the game and one long ball can result in a goal. 

“We have to put more chances away and be more ruthless to make sure we are avoiding late scares.”

Matt Clarke, Semi Ajayi, Conor Townsend and Cedric Kipre all returned positive COVID-19 results before the game against Reading, while Grady Diangana missed the 1-0 triumph through illness.

But the boss says all five players have been allowed to return to training ahead of Friday’s fixture at Barnsley. 

“I’ve been told from the medical staff all the players who tested positive can come back and train.

“We will go from there.

“The situation is certainly better than last week.”

  • Ismaël