West Bromwich Albion will be looking to go back to winning ways on Saturday (September 18) afternoon when they face Preston at the Deepdale Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Albion secured two points in a possible six in their last two Championship home encounters against Millwall (1-1) and Derby (0-0) respectively.
The hosts will also be heading into the game on the back of two away draws against Bristol City (0-0) and Sheffield United (2-2), as they sit 14th place in the league.
Here’s everything the West Brom boss said in his press conference…
Looking to Preston
“We are prepared in all cases. It’s an away game, a difficult game – all of them are in the Championship.
“Preston is able to play in different ways.
“We need to make sure we are prepared; we will prepare the guys.
“But the focus is on us, we decide from minute one what we want from the game.”
Second-half display against Derby
“We analysed the last two games with the guys intensively to recognise what is now the game plan from the opponent against us.
“It is clear. The opponent is happy with one point. They don’t want to play.
“You can imagine it’s like a boxing match. We want to fight, we are on the front foot, we are ready and the opponent runs away, doesn’t want to fight. It’s that situation at the minute.
“But the second half against Derby showed the solution we have found.
“We need to perform like that, with that intensity, from the first minute in every game.
“We need to make sure we know exactly what is going on.
“Now we do know exactly what is going on with our opponent.
“But it’s still early in the season and now we have more clarity.”
The solution found…
“I don’t want to give all the solutions, but it’s all about body language, body attitude, intensity.
“When you look at the numbers from the first half to the second half they are completely different, the same game, completely different numbers.
“The same game plan from the opponent, we raised the numbers and it’s a completely different game.
“We found some solutions with the guys and now we are on the right way.
“The last thing we need to do is score – when you create so many chances you need to score.
“We need to work on it at the minute, I think in all the games we have created a lot of chances but we need a lot of chances to score one goal.
“We need to reduce that percentage. We need to be more clinical.
“If we get one or two chances we need to score to make sure we open the game and to give more confidence.
“It is normal during the course of the season that you have to adapt, you use your brain and find a solution.
“Now we go again.”
Experiencing a similar situation before
“At LASK it was a similar case, at Barnsley it was something different. It was more what we saw against Derby, the opponent went more direct, they got players running in behind.
“But, as I said when I came here, we have the quality. We want to be the top team in three areas.
“We want to be top out of possession – we are top out of possession.
“We want to be top on set-pieces – we are top on set-pieces and in possession – this is the area we can improve and where we have to improve to be a complete team.
“I think everything is normal at the minute for this stage of the season, but we do need to improve in some areas.”
“He will play today [Friday], 45 minutes with the under-23s.
“We have raised the intensity in his workload. I think he is on the right way, but we don’t want to rush him and take any risks.
“We need to get that feeling that he is ready to compete and help us. At the minute we have found a solution. We have some time.
“Clarkey looks really good at the minute as well, we are hopeful he can come back soon.
“We are in no rush, we are happy at the minute, the improvement in the training sessions, the understanding of our way to play, I think his first 45 minutes today will help him.
“The under-23s play the same way as us so it will be a good test for him.”
Matt Clarke return before the international break
“Yes, that is possible. He looks good, he will have a scan today and we will go from there.
“But every sign in training, the sports science, he has reacted very well.
“It gives us a big hope that he could come back earlier than expected.”