Valerien Ismael admits change is needed as ‘sloppy’ Baggies fail to score again

The Baggies have now failed to find the back of the net in four of their last six contests following their goalless draw at Barnsley

By Press Association Published: 17 December 2021 - 11.02pm

West Brom boss Valerien Ismael admitted bolstering his strikeforce will be his biggest priority in the January transfer window following a 0-0 draw at Barnsley.

The Baggies have the Championship’s best defensive record this season but failed to find the net for a fourth time in their last six contests during a wasteful night at Oakwell.

Striker Jordan Hugill, who has only netted once this term, squandered the night’s best opportunity when he sidefooted a six-yard shot straight at covering home defender Callum Brittain and Ismael admitted he felt like a “broken record” as he assessed his side’s attacking shortcomings afterwards.

The former Barnsley boss said: “It’s fairly obvious – if you don’t score, you don’t win and I’m like a broken record every week. We play well and create chances, but it’s all about the desire to get a goal.

“Players have to take responsibility at some point and not be sloppy in front of goal. It’s frustrating because we should have taken three points and it’s all about getting the job done.

“We have the gameplan and the players to follow it but, while the visibility and weather conditions were not great, we’ve got to show a killer instinct to get the points.

“We’re at the halfway stage of the season now and we are still in a good position but, to win games, you need to score goals and I am repeating myself week after week so we have to change that, because this game was confirmation that it’s the top positions where we need to do something.

“All of the forwards have been given a chance to show what they can do now and our succession rate in front of goal is too low.”

Poya Asbaghi, whose Barnsley team are the lowest scorers in the division, also lamented his side’s potency, but was pleased with the defensive determination that meant they extended an unbeaten run against the Baggies at Oakwell that stretches back 74 years to 1947.

He said: “It was a real, physical battle and we knew we were playing against one of the toughest teams in the league who play that way, but we stood up to the fight and worked hard to get the clean sheet. When you are in these types of games, though, you have to play better offensively.

“Against a team that is physically superior, you have to be smarter and faster on the ball and use your counter-attacks in a better way. We didn’t do that, which meant we had to stand up and fight for all of the game.

“They were out there killing themselves, which is something to take forward, but we need to create more chances.

“The first 15 minutes we were brave on the ball but, the more the game went on, we lost a bit of that courage, which is perhaps understandable because we know West Brom are more dangerous on the counter-attack than they are with their build-up play.”

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