Valerien Ismael’s Derby County preview: False positions, repetition and angry strikers

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The West Brom manager sat down with the media to preview Albion’s trip to Pride Park on December 27

West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael is under no illusions about how tough of a test Monday’s trip to Derby County will be despite claiming his side should have beaten them 5-0 in the reverse fixture.

Albion played out a 0-0 draw with the Rams at the Hawthorns back in September and Ismael is expecting an even harder time on this occasion now that Derby are ‘playing without pressure’ due to their multiple points’ deductions.

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 Grady Diangana of West Bromwich Albion battles for the ball with Jason Knight of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Derby County at The Hawthorns on September 14 Grady Diangana of West Bromwich Albion battles for the ball with Jason Knight of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Derby County at The Hawthorns on September 14
Grady Diangana of West Bromwich Albion battles for the ball with Jason Knight of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Derby County at The Hawthorns on September 14 | Getty Images

“Derby is a strong opponent like all the opponents in the Championship,” the boss said.

“We focus on our game, they’ve had a few great results the last few weeks, we know their quality.

“The positive thing for them is that they have nothing to lose - their expectation is that they drop into League One because the gap is massive.

“They are playing without pressure and with a lot of passion.

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“I remember the first leg we played - it’s a game we should’ve won 4/5-0, we want to play like that but from the first minute.

“I think in the first game their goalkeeper had the game of his life, or certainly his game of the season.

“It was a game where we should have scored four or five with the chances we created.

“We need to continue from that point.

“Now it’s about being angry about our situation, we play well, we create chances, we put the ball into dangerous areas.

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“But we need to finish the job. We need to be angry and not sloppy in front of goal we are to get the rewards for all the work and the effort we put in both in training and in the games.

“We need to start finishing the job.”

West Brom boss Valerien Ismael has insisted that speaking English will be a prerequisite for any January signings, to ensure new players can bed straight into the side and understand what is required of them. The Baggies are currently third in the Championship, seven points off leaders Fulham. (Birmingham Mail)West Brom boss Valerien Ismael has insisted that speaking English will be a prerequisite for any January signings, to ensure new players can bed straight into the side and understand what is required of them. The Baggies are currently third in the Championship, seven points off leaders Fulham. (Birmingham Mail)
West Brom boss Valerien Ismael has insisted that speaking English will be a prerequisite for any January signings, to ensure new players can bed straight into the side and understand what is required of them. The Baggies are currently third in the Championship, seven points off leaders Fulham. (Birmingham Mail)

Anger is something Ismael referred to a lot in the press conference and has called on his strikers to play angry in front of goal in Monday’s fixture.

Missing chances has become an all too common theme this season for the Baggies with the game last time out against the Rams a prime example.

Ismael - and the fans for that matter - don’t want to see a repeat performance.

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“The first thing is to be aware of the situation,” he added.

“We show clips to the guys but they have to take responsibility.

“When they go to bed they have to be angry. When they wake up they have to be angry about the situation.

“The week so far we have put the players in exactly the situations they will find in games.

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“And with repetition and repetition, we are working on them getting that confidence.

“For sure it is without an opponent.

“But we can repeat the build up to help the confidence of the players.”

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