Manager Sam Allardyce knows his West Brom players must improve their defensive capabilities quickly if they are to survive in the Premier League this season.
The Baggies are deep in the mire, with just 12 points from 23 games seeing them 19th in the table. They are 11 points from safety, with games running out to pull off a miraculous escape.
That is what Allardyce is known for but he has been unable to do anything to arrest the decline. Albion have garnered just five points since he replaced Slaven Bilic in the Hawthorns dugout on December 16 last year.
The 66-year-old is known as a manager who can make a team hard to beat. His defensive organisational skills mark him out as a coach to turn to when things are going wrong.
However, the goals have continued to flow at the wrong end since he arrived in the West Midlands. They have conceded 54 top-flight goals in 2020-2021.
Leeds put five past them, Arsenal scored four while Manchester City also bagged five. Things are looking bleak and the veteran coach admits it has not gone to plan despite his best efforts.
“It’s always been my first port of call, for the players to look at the realisation if you concede this many goals what the outcome will be,” he said.
“Unfortunately we haven’t been able to rectify it yet and we have to. I have tried different players and different systems – not because I wanted to because I wanted to find a consistent team to pick.
“Particularly defensively, not just the goalkeeper and the back four, but the whole team fails at some stage to keep the ball out of the net.”
Cavalry arrived too late?
West Brom welcome Manchester United to the Hawthorns on Sunday. All home games are now key but the Red Devils will be a tough nut to crack.
Allardyce brought in four new players in January. Mbaye Diagne, Okay Yokuslu, Robert Snodgrass and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were all recruited.
The hope is that they will be able to make an impact. But the former England chief knows it is never easy switch clubs in mid season.
“The CV tells you they are good players but the transition in January from where they’ve come from into the Premier League is a difficult task,” he added.
“We hope they come good almost immediately. Okay is just finding his feet and will find out what the Premier League is about.
“Hopefully he can adjust very quickly. Ainsley is finding his feet and Snods can provide a lot of quality crosses. He is very vocal in terms of trying to keep the team motivated which is very important with the position we’re in.”