West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael has called for his side to be more ruthless in front of goal as he spoke to the club’s media team, after seeing his side fire a blank in a 1-0 away defeat to Huddersfield Town yesterday.
The Baggies came into the weekend’s tie at the John Smith’s Stadium looking for redemption after only being able to secure a frustrating 1-1 home draw against Middlesbrough before the international break, even going behind before Grady Diangana levelled the tie in the second half.
In a similar fashion, relegation battlers Hull City kept Ismael’s men at bay for two thirds of the game before Karlan Grant’s 69th-minute strike in a 1-0 win for the Baggies earlier this month.
Quiz: Have West Brom ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?
Unlike these two games though, Albion were unable to get on the scoresheet this weekend despite having 20 shots, getting just two on target in what was a miserable attacking display in West Yorkshire.
During the match, the Baggies also only won less than 30% of their attacking duels (stat via wyscout.com), not threatening Lee Nicholls anywhere near enough to cause real problems and coming away empty-handed having now lost four of their last eight league matches.
With their loss and Fulham taking all three points against Barnsley, this weekend has been a major setback for automatic promotion hopes and they will need to vastly improve if they want to have any chance of challenging AFC Bournemouth and the Cottagers again.
Speaking post-match about one of the improvements they can make, manager Ismael said: “It’s about the conversion rate at the moment. It’s an issue for us.
“We created so many chances but we need to be more ruthless.
“It’s good that we are dominating and creating chances, but at the end of the day you have to score goals.
“It’s a big frustration to lose that game.
“The mentality is right, but we need to find a killer instinct in terms of scoring goals.
“This is what decides games. We created a lot of chances, but we need to get the rewards for our efforts.”
After such a promising start to the campaign – though there was discontent with their three consecutive draws following the first international break of the campaign – the wheels seem to have fallen off.
Although questions can be asked about the board and their ambition after failing to invest the necessary funds to bring in a top-quality forward during the summer, the Frenchman should be getting more out of his existing squad considering most competed in the Premier League last season.
Sitting in third place currently, calls for his sacking might be slightly premature, but he does need to make his side consistent again. Another unbeaten run would be ideal in their current situation with Fulham and Bournemouth likely to slip up at various points of the season, despite their quality.
This means the likes of Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson need to step up after a mixed start to their campaigns, as well as Jordan Hugill who struggled to get on the scoresheet for promotion-winners Norwich City last season too.
Ismael can’t wait for the winter window to address this problem, because he could be out of a job before January if the Baggies slide down the table.