West Brom boss Bilic hails second-half showing against Luton

Grady Diangana changed the course of the match.

By Press Association Published: 17 August 2019 - 5.32pm

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic praised his side for their second half display after beating Luton 2-1 at Kenilworth Road.

The Baggies had trailed at the interval but saw substitute Grady Diangana score twice in just three minutes after replacing Kyle Edwards to give them a lead they never looked like losing.

Bilic said: “Credit to him, he did exactly what we wanted him to do, but it was not only Grady.

“He helped the team, the team helped him, and lets not be unfair to Kyle, it wasn’t like Kyle out and then Grady in, it was the whole team.

“I said to the guys at half time, I understand ups and downs, but it could have been a few other players as well.

“We weren’t bad in the first half, we were there, we were getting into situations, but we weren’t brave enough to do it.

“The ball was not there, or the moment was not there, so we needed a bit of a spark and one change, and we did that.

“Second half because of Grady, but not only because of Grady, it was different team, much better.

“I wanted to do something, I wanted to win the game, I wanted to turn this game around.

“The goals always help, but most of the time the goals are a conclusion of how we play, even the deflection.

“We have to be there, in the first half we weren’t there, so you have to be there and eventually the ball will hit you.

“After that we gained confidence, they were knocked down of course, because they conceded a couple of goals in a period of the game where they were totally out-played.

“They were a bit groggy, like a boxer, and it’s always possible that you can concede a goal, but we introduced a couple of players who are very good on the ball and we didn’t have a serious avalanche, so a great three points.”

Luton were in front in the 15th minute, Harry Cornick’s powerful header flying into the top corner from Martin Cranie’s cross.

However, Diangana levelled with 48 on the clock, arrowing a 25-yard drive past Simon Sluga and into the bottom corner.

He then made it 2-1 just three minutes later, with a diving header from close range after a deflected shot rebounded invitingly to him.

Town never really threatened an equaliser as boss Graeme Jones was disappointed his side could not capitalise on an excellent first half showing.

He said: “If you were looking at an ex-Premier League side it was us first half, and we couldn’t sustain it, Slav threw on a bit of power, changed the game.

“Physically we didn’t really come out at half time as I would have liked, but obviously that’s part of the period we’re in.

“We need to think about the positive aspect that we dominated the ball for the first 45 minutes and went in 1-0 up at half time.

“We spoke about all those things that we want to do, we dropped and gave West Brom the ball, with space, and West Brom didn’t score two goals today, we gave them two goals.

“They didn’t earn two goals, we gave them two goals, in terms of our starting positions as a team and that’s where the disappointment lies.”