Upset Valerien Ismael wants ‘lion mentality’ from West Brom after loss at Derby

A bizarre goal by Colin Kazim-Richards in the 58th minute following a mistake from goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made it back-to-back wins for Derby.

By Press Association Published: 27 December 2021 - 7.10pm

West Brom head coach Valerien Ismael urged his players to show a “lion mentality” after losing 1-0 at bottom club Derby.

A bizarre goal by Colin Kazim-Richards in the 58th minute following a mistake from visiting goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made it back-to-back wins for Wayne Rooney’s side for the first time since February.

But for Ismael, missing the chance to climb into the Sky Bet Championship’s top two before Bournemouth played at QPR on Monday evening was the spark to criticise his players.

“The mentality was not right for the game,” said Ismael.

“It’s all about desire – when you have the chance of a top-two spot, you need to show it from the first minute.

“At some point, we have to find the killer mentality, the lion mentality, to win games.

“We have to wake up. The players need to ask where they want to be in a year, two years. Why do they want to do the job?

“It’s more than frustration – I’m really upset.”

The only goal came when Johnstone unnecessarily rushed out of the penalty area and could only nod Cedric Kipre’s header straight into the path of Kazim-Richards, who found the empty net from 25 yards.

Ismael was angry about the goal, adding: “It was ridiculous, it’s not enough.

“We have conceded seven goals like that this season.”

Ismael revealed he read the riot act to his players after the game.

“I spoke to the players like that after – at some point I have to tell the truth,” he admitted.

“You have to speak and say how things are. We need to score more goals.”

Derby manager Wayne Rooney has called for the club’s takeover situation to be sorted out in the next week.

A prospective takeover by US businessman Chris Kirchner was called off on Christmas Eve.

The club’s administrators said an announcement on a preferred bidder is “imminent”.

Rooney said: “He’s got his own reasons why he has done that. The administrators have confirmed they have had bids from other companies and it needs to be done before January.

“I’m trying to plan for the future of this club and if it keeps dragging on, it’s not helpful to anyone.

“So really this next week is pivotal for this football club.”

Rooney added: “The next morning after Chris pulled out, I had players coming up to me asking me questions.

“There are players out of contract in mid-January, there are players who can pre-sign for other clubs in January – players who I want here at this club.”

Derby’s only on-target effort surprised another top team after they beat Bournemouth and drew with Fulham and West Brom previously.

Rooney said of the goal: “I could see something happening between the defender and the goalkeeper.

“Them getting so close to each other, you hoped it would fall for us; it did and he put in a nice finish.”

West Brom looked the more likely scorers for much of the game.

But Jake Livermore’s shot was deflected wide and Ryan Allsop denied Kipre, Adam Reach and Callum Robinson, while Kyle Bartley’s header was disallowed for offside.

After the goal, Bartley and Matt Clarke wasted headers and substitute Jordan Hugill side-footed wide.

In the dying seconds, Allsop brilliantly tipped over Bartley’s header.

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