West Brom boss Valerien Ismael insists that he will always make substitutions midway through the second half as he needs to ensure the team remains fresh.
In the last six games, the Albion chief has subbed two of his front three by the 69th minute, with some fans frustrated that players aren’t given a full game to prove themselves. Plus, they don’t like the fact the subs seem pre-planned and don’t reflect on how an individual is playing.
However, speaking to The Athletic, Ismael explained how the off-the-ball demands he places on his team means that making attacking subs allows the side to remain on the front foot throughout.
“My game plan is clear when I start… how can you keep the intensity throughout the 90 minutes? It’s always in my mind. The first change I make is always the front three. After the first hour, the intensity drops, it’s about nature, it’s always the same so I need to do something when I’ve got the quality on the bench.
“If you start you must be ready to give everything for an hour, then after one hour you need to be ready to make an impact on the game (from the bench). That’s always the game plan.”
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Ismael touched upon how he made subs at specific times for Barnsley last season, with fans working out after a few games what would happen, and, with five to make then, it turned out to be hugely successful.
You can understand why some fans are baffled by this, however he explains it very well. The factor that makes West Brom so good is the pressing and it’s what he centres his team on.
These comments suggest he isn’t going to change any time soon, so the players and support will need to get used to it.
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