West Brom player ratings gallery: Six score 5/10 in 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United
How the West Bromwich Albion players performed in the 2-0 defeat to Sheffield United this afternoon - with a whole host of 5/10 ratings.
Carlos Corberan’s life at West Bromwich Albion began with a real reality check as Sheffield United eased to a 2-0 victory at the Hawthorns. The tone was set early on as Matt Phillips had an opportunity within the opening moments but fluffed his lines at the decisive moment.
It took just 10 minutes for the deadlock to be broken. A simple run in behind Conor Townsend - who was caught sleeping - saw George Baldock find Iliman Ndiaye with a cut-back, and he passed the ball into the bottom corner. Both Ndiaye and Oli McBurnie had been left unmarked; the Baggies making it far too easy.
Even with a new manager, the trend of conceding early continued to hurt Albion as Ndiaye’s opener was the eighth time the Baggies have conceded in the first 15 minutes of matches. Only Millwall can come close to that figure, with six.
Matters were made even worse for West Brom soon after as Ndiaye picked up the ball at the centre circle and made a dazzling run past three Albion players. The 22-year-old picked out McBurnie, who cut inside and curled an effort into the bottom right-hand corner.
Albion hit back with a prolonged spell of possession and pressure before half-time with a whole host of crosses floated into the area. There was a real focus down the right flank with Wallace and Phillips often swapping sides. It was to no avail, however, as United were able to soak up everything with confidence.
Corberan’s side resorted to shooting from outside the area and this was largely unsuccessful - but Phillips did cause Blades goalkeeper Aaron Davies some discomfort with an effort at the 40th-minute mark.
It was much of the same after the break, as West Brom continued to head to the flanks for chance creation. Karlan Grant had an opportunity to reduce the deficit as he ran through on goal, but he failed to gain any power on his strike.
Corberan looked to the bench for some changes just before the hour, recognising his side were being outplayed in midfield. John Swift and Jayson Molumby the two chosen, the latter nearly troubled Davies with a powerful strike - but it sailed past the post.
Albion dominated proceedings for much of the second period and enjoyed some far better spells with more urgency, but a lack of players in the box when needed really cost them. Even when deliveries had pinpoint accuracy, there was simply nobody there to convert.
There were more long-range chances, with Molumby contributing another and Swift taking it on from 20 yards. Brandon Thomas-Asante, who came on for Taylor Gardner-Hickman in the 85th, displayed some good movement and had a tight-angled shot cleared off the line by the Blades.
In the end, though, West Brom were unable to get through and are defeated on Corberan’s managerial debut - boos echoing round at the full-time whistle. Here is how we think each and every Baggies player performed this afternoon - with a whole host of 5/10s.