Semi Ajayi: 'Tactical tweak helped us after break'

Ajayi post-Boro

Semi Ajayi believes applying pressure higher up the pitch early in the second half helped Albion turn the tide at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

The Baggies played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on the opening day of the new Sky Bet Championship season.

The hosts had the better of the first 45 and were ahead at the break thanks to Isaiah Jones’ close-range finish, only for John Swift to equalise six minutes into the second period.

And Semi says a small tactical tweak discussed in the away dressing room during the interval and applied from the start of the second-half whistle was the catalyst for change.

The defender said: “The game was definitely one of two halves. 

“We weren’t at the races in the first 45. I think we gave them far too much respect and far too much time on the ball.

“In the second half we managed to get a lot more pressure on the ball high up the field which then allowed everyone else to push up the pitch.

“We tweaked it at the break to make sure we were getting more pressure on their centre-backs. In the first half they were able to play out and play through the lines and we had to try and prevent them from doing that.

“We created a lot of chances from being on the front foot and we need to make sure we take that into our next few games.

“The boys put in a much better performance in the second half.

“It was a really good team goal that we scored. If you look at a lot of the goals we’ve scored in pre-season, they’ve come from wide areas. 

“We’ve been doing well at getting the ball into wide areas, getting the ball into the box and getting bodies into the box.

“We capitalised on that today as well so long may that continue.

“I want to thank the fans for making the effort to come up with train strikes on and petrol prices being so high.

“Their support is so important to us and it really drives us on.”

  • Ajayi