Valerian Ismail makes West Bromwich Albion center after Arsenal win

And Valerin Ismail reiterated his position that the urgent priority for West Bromwich Albion this season remains the championship, after a particularly young team was sent off 6-0 by a strong team from Arsenal.

Ismail has named a squad of 11 changers, with six players making full debuts and the remainder from first-team sidelined players as well as captain Robert Snodgrass making his debut since March.

They were faced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard, and although they competed for over half an hour, the evening quickly disintegrated with Arsenal’s superior fitness levels and quality in the penalty kick, the area said.

Ismael had always intended to make such significant changes, and stood by the call that allowed him to properly implement the rule on the less-observed and aspiring players in the academy.

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He also thanked the fans who eventually stayed and praised the exhausted young group off the field for understanding why he did what he did.

“When you rotate a lot in the team, the team has never played together,” Ismail said. “You need to make sure everything is in the right place. We knew before we made the decision what we wanted to see.

“Obviously our priority is the championship and this match was an opportunity to give minutes to important players and see young boys in an important position, to assess them and make sure they understand what it means to be at this level.

“I have to thank the fans. They understand that our priority this season is clearly the championship. In the end they praised the young boys for their performance. The guys tried to give everything. Now we move on and focus on Saturday.”

Ismail did not tell the fact that he took the opportunity to see if those on the fringes of his team could handle the levels and demands of what he would expect from first-team players who started the championship season like a burning house.

Despite the overall defeat to some outstanding players, was he satisfied with what he saw over the course of the evening?

Hawthorns, home of West Bromwich Albion FC.

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“Yes, we need to distinguish between the two cases,” he explained. “The first is the performance. In the first half, especially in some points, it looked very good. Very good pressure and intensity.

“We won the ball and created the first big chance in the game. We conceded the first goal with a huge blunder and we need to accept that with the young players. We struggled for 90 minutes on points but it was all about mentality, staying strong and staying in the game.

“We came back in the second half with some good chances to score and give the players a good feeling. For us it is important to reach our goal. Snods played 70 minutes, [Adam] He played Rich 90, and so did Cedric [Kipre]. It is important to put the player in a good fitness level.”


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