West Bromwich Albion wing-back Adam Reach has cited their ruthlessness in attack as a major area the Baggies need to improve on from their win against Cardiff City in midweek, speaking to the club’s media team ahead of tonight’s showdown against Stoke City.
The West Midlands side claimed a thumping 4-0 victory away at the Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday night, taking advantage of a frail Mick McCarthy side and putting in a dominant performance in their quest to atone for their frustrating run of draws after the last international break.
However, the Baggies took their time in putting midweek’s match out of sight, scoring in the fifth minute but then having to wait until the 56th minute via a Curtis Nelson own goal to double their lead.
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This second-half dominance was a major relief to a side that drew three consecutive games after the international break, prompting frustration from some fans before stealing a late winner against Queens Park Rangers at The Hawthorns last Friday.
They may not have the home advantage under the lights tonight – but they are in a much better position going into this tie against Stoke City who have also started the season well and improved vastly on their last three campaigns of mediocrity in the Championship.
Reach, despite his team’s dominance in the Welsh capital, believes Valerien Ismael’s side can still improve on one key aspect of their game against the Potters, saying in yesterday’s press conference: “It’ll be tough (the game against Stoke). Every game in this division is tough away from home.
“Like us, they have such a strong squad full of players who have either played in the Premier League or are aspiring to get there.
“It’s about going to those places and sticking to our principles.
“We need to try and do what we did at Cardiff and then even more on top of that. Maybe even be a little bit more ruthless in forward areas.
“It would be a great feeling to pick up three points before the international break, especially playing on a Friday before everyone else on Saturday.”
West Bromwich Albion have some good options at their disposal in attack, there are no doubts about that.
Callum Robinson, Karlan Grant, Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips, Jordan Hugill and Robert Snodgrass are all valuable assets and it’s not just the quality of their front three that impresses people, it’s also the depth they have in the second tier.
This strength in depth is often the key to winning promotion back to the Premier League with a gruelling 46-league game season in the Championship and other competitions to contend with, but it does feel they are missing one key ingredient.
You could argue they could benefit from a more senior option at right wing-back to compete with Darnell Furlong and an extra man in midfield due to Quevin Castro’s inexperience – but another striker also has to be at the top of the agenda.
Let’s not forget Jordan Hugill only scored four times in 31 appearances for Norwich City last term and they can’t keep relying on the likes of Grant and Robinson to step up every game.
Players like Kyle Bartley and Alex Mowatt will chip in with the odd goal, but a main goalscorer like Daryl Dike could be the difference between a top-two spot and a play-off battle. As Valerien Ismael knows from last season, the play-offs are a lottery, so he will be keen to avoid them this term.