West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael has outlined the importance of assistant coaches Adam Murray and James Morrison to his side’s early-season success.
The 46-year-old took charge at the Hawthorns in the summer, leaving Barnsley after surprising many by leading the Tykes to the Championship play-offs in 2020/21.
It’s been an impressive first few months at the helm for Ismael, whose side sit second in the Championship with 22 points from their first 11 games and seem to have quickly adjusted to his direct, high-tempo style of play.
Key to that fast start has been the presence of his two assistants. Murray followed the Frenchman over from Barnsley, while Morrison had been promoted to a first-team coaching role during Sam Allardyce’s tenure.
Speaking to the Express & Star, the West Brom boss explained how the pair had helped him have early success at the West Midlands club.
He said: “Adam and I are on the same page.
“He is dedicated to the principles of how we want to play
“His job is to reinforce and implement the philosophy on the pitch and the second task is set-pieces.
“James’s task at the beginning was more to learn about the philosophy, to understand the wording because when we train with the guys we only use one wording for situations so we all need to speak the same language.
“So when we are on the sidelines I use this wording and every player needs to understand and know exactly what we mean.
“He showed his quality and he knows the club, he’s a legend, the players respect him and he gave us a lot of advice about the players and the club and everything around and now he’s a big part of our staff.
“He wants to learn and every day he asks a lot of questions. He has a big desire and he has the same profile as our players — young, hungry and wants to improve.
“He’s never too tired to work and he shows the right mentality.”
West Brom lost their unbeaten Championship record just before the international break when fellow promotion hopefuls Stoke City beat them 1-0 at the Bet365 Stadium.
They’ll have a chance to get back to winning ways on Friday when they welcome local rivals Birmingham City to the Hawthorns.
22 questions about West Brom’s away kits from over the years – Can you get full marks?
Ismael has provided a fascinating insight into what his two assistants provide and how they’ve aided the early success he’s had at the Hawthorns.
By keeping Morrison involved and bringing Murray across with him from Barnsley, the West Brom boss has the best of both worlds in working with one coach he’s had success with in the past and one that knows the club inside and out.
The success of his tenure will ultimately be judged on which division the Baggies are playing in next season but at the moment they look on course to seriously challenge for promotion, which is where they’ll want to be.
Despite the defeat to Stoke recently, there’s certainly a lot to be positive about if you’re an Albion fan.