Valerien Ismael sends a simple message to the West Brom fans after dismal defeat

Valerien Ismael admitted that West Brom deserved to lose as they surrendered their unbeaten home record in dismal circumstances to Preston on Wednesday.

Emil Riis and then Cameron Archer condemned Albion to a defeat on a night when The Hawthorns atmosphere spiralled to new levels of toxicity, with songs aimed at Ismael and chants dedicated to his predecessor Slaven Bilic.

Albion are seven points behind Blackburn in second place, but far more worryingly they could find themselves out of the play-off places if results went against them at Millwall on Saturday.

Ismael had few complaints about the result here, though. He conceded that he and his players merited the reaction based purely on the dire performance they turned in.

Read Joe Chapman’s player ratings from tonight after a shocking display

“It was more than disappointing. I think tonight we deserved all the criticism we got and the disappointment and frustration because the performance was not there,” he said. “We missed everything we wanted – it was a very strange feeling.

“After the win on Saturday we had a chance to move up the table and every chance we’ve had that, we’ve missed it. We played with fear and we didn’t recognise our team. It was a big disappointment.

“You can lose but we missed the basics of desire and passion and there’s no excuse. We deserved to lose.”

Having beaten Peterborough over the weekend, you’d have hoped that Albion would be buoyed by the late goals and three points. Perhaps it’d provide a bounce, a quicker start and a hunger to follow that win up with another three points.

This result and display, though, was so far removed from what might’ve been expected.

“I need to analyse the game and watch it back and speak to the players,” Ismael said, when asked why there was such a drop off in performance levels. “We have never played like that. Maybe the first half against Fulham. It’s mentality, not a question of fitness.

“We won on Saturday so we got the confidence back and the training session was good. We need to work on it. It’s a case of one step forward, two steps back.”

The bottom line is, though, that Albion performed at an unacceptable level here. Those who booed and jeered from the stands were well within their rights to.

“We understand everything. We accept it,” he added. “I take my responsibility and when we see something like that, they have the right to boo and criticise.”

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