West Bromwich Albion boss Valerien Ismael has said his side’s backline made ‘too many mistakes’ in their 1-1 home draw against Millwall yesterday afternoon, speaking to the Express and Star.
Although it was centre-back Kyle Bartley who put the Baggies in the lead in the 49th minute, they conceded just six minutes later through Daniel Ballard’s header, following a cross that arguably should have been dealt with a lot better by Ismael’s side.
They were missing loanee Matt Clarke and Dara O’Shea for this game through their respective injuries, with the latter sustaining a fractured ankle on international duty for the Republic of Ireland earlier this month.
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Because of this, they recruited ex-Sheffield United man Kean Bryan to come in and provide the second-tier side with some much-needed depth, after he was linked with a move to The Hawthorns earlier this summer.
He missed out completely yesterday, something that was expected after the West Brom manager’s comments in his pre-match press conference. But in the same press conference, he refused to rule out the 24-year-old making an appearance on Tuesday night against Derby County, depending on his fitness.
His chances of winning a spot in the starting lineup for the clash against Wayne Rooney’s side may have been boosted if Ismael’s criticism of his defence after the Millwall match is anything to go by.
The 45-year-old said: “The opponent will come here, they won’t want to take any risks and they will want to take the intensity out of the game.
“Nevertheless, we had the possibility to score from the penalty and after that we came back very strongly, scoring the goal just after half-time.
“But today, the big difference is we made too many mistakes, in the backline especially – with the back passes to the keeper.
“It put us in danger and we gave the opponent the feeling they could come back into the game.
“They got corners, free-kicks, throw-ins. And you know against Millwall that is a massive part of their game, you need to avoid that but we made too many mistakes.”
Although the entire defence has to take responsibility for their errors, Kean Bryan is likely to come in for Cedric Kipre instead of Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi who seem to be Valerien Ismael’s preferred options in the centre.
This may be music to some Baggies’ fans ears with the criticism the Ivorian has received for his performances this season, although it may take Bryan a little while to adapt to life in the West Midlands after his departure from Sheffield United.
He was officially without a club for over two months after failing to agree a deal with any side before the start of the 2021/22 season, so it was a wise decision by the second-tier side to not throw him in straight away.
On paper, West Brom should be winning against Derby County which could leave Bryan in store for a relatively easy debut. But he will need to keep a close eye on Tom Lawrence and Ravel Morrison who can both be lethal for a Rams side who have started the season in a respectable fashion.
Baggies fans will be excited to see their new signing in action though – especially after seeing him play in the Premier League last term and previously attract interest from the likes of Fulham, Watford and Swansea City.