As far as starts to a managerial reign go, Valerien Ismael has to be pretty happy with how his first week as West Bromwich Albion head coach went.
It was never going to be the easiest start on the south coast against AFC Bournemouth, but the Baggies came away with a 2-2 draw from Dean Court before securing a win over Luton Town at The Hawthorns on Saturday.
The 3-2 scoreline made it look a lot closer that what it was, with West Brom leading 3-0 after 66 minutes before the Hatters staged a late rally.
West Brom have a pretty strong squad to mount a promotion push back to the Premier League immediately, and one player who has been a part of the furniture for a while now is Matty Phillips.
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The Scotland international joined the Baggies in 2016 from Queens Park Rangers and has been a part of a promotion with the club already during the 2019-20 season under Slaven Bilic, and can offer Ismael some versatility both on the wing and at wing-back.
There is clearly a strong spirit in the Baggies dressing room as Phillips posted a four-word message to his Instagram account outlining the mood that Ismael has created amongst the squad.
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Ismael’s West Brom squad isn’t the finished article for this season by a long stretch, however he’s got the nucleus of one that should really go straight back up.
And Phillips is going to be a key part of that over the course of the season – he has experience and know-how of promotion with the club and he can cover a number of positions if needed.
With the message Phillips has posted, it already seems like the squad are buying into Ismael’s methods which saw him take Barnsley from strugglers in the Championship to the play-offs, so just imagine what he can do with on paper more talented and experienced players.
In terms of Phillips as well, he scored seven times in the Championship when he was last at this level when West Brom were promoted and whilst he may not be a guaranteed starter with Grady Diangana currently occupying his position, the 30-year-old will no doubt get chances to make his mark on the club’s season.