Valerien Ismael has taken full blame for the goal that West Brom conceded against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
With the majority of West Brom players left in the attacking half, Sam Johnstone raced onto a through ball that was intended for Ben Brereton-Diaz, however, the 28-year-old’s clearance deflected off the Chilean forward and into his path, before he was able to pass the ball into the back of the net.
It was a goal that halved The Baggies’ two-goal lead in the 51st minute, but for the second week on the trot, West Brom survived a second half comeback.
Under Ismael, West Brom operate with a very high defensive line, and whilst that helps in recovering possession and starting attacks, it can also leave the newly-relegated Championship club rather exposed at the back.
It has been a tactic that has brought around success early on this season, and throughout last year with Barnsley, but does come with its risks.
Speaking to Birmingham Live about the goal West Brom conceded, Ismael said: “There is no blame on Sam – that is our principle,” he explained after the game. “We need the keeper sweeping, to protect in behind. As I say, you can make mistakes when you play with our principles, but this is what we want to see from our keeper.
“If you want to blame someone you can blame me because I tell him all the time you need to sweep and support. It’s a risk and sometimes it goes like that, but you will win more games than you lose.”
As Ismael quite rightly alludes to here, it is a new system for the players and he does not mind when these mistakes happen, as long as they are trying to play with his principles.
The situation may look different if West Brom went on to drop points from that game, but as seen during his time with Barnsley, he is a man with a plan and he will stick by this way of operating.
Ismael has made an excellent start to life at West Brom, with his style of play exciting Baggies fans. There will be tougher tests to follow, but it is a start that provides hope and promise that they can bounce straight back to the Premier League.