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Comment: Necessary changes won’t happen overnight for West Brom

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

"I’m different to other managers that have been here, I have my own ideas."

Darren Moore. (AMA)

One point from the opening two games of the season is a slightly underwhelming start to life in the Championship for one of the title-favourites.

Already, after just one week in this new division, concerns are being prematurely voiced about an inexperienced head coach and a team too used to losing.

Only time will tell whether this summer’s strategy of keeping the majority of the squad together is the right one, and only time will tell whether Darren Moore will be a success.

But there are extenuating circumstances behind the slow start and Moore, just like any other manager, deserves time to find the right formula.

Not that it’s going to be easy, because he is tasked with changing a philosophy so engrained in the team it has left scars.

“We’ve been in the Premier League against some elite European giants and to mix it with those teams we had to go with a certain gameplan and we’ve conformed to that for the last five, six or seven years,” said Moore, ahead of today's game with Norwich.

“The mindset of the players has been a certain way. We’re now in the Championship and are equal to the other teams.

“It’s important that we try and get that out to everybody at the club. The mindset has got to be different, the play has got to be different.

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“There has to be – and there will be – a change as we go along but it won’t come overnight, you’ve got to build it steadily and slowly.

“As well as doing that, you’ve got to get results. It’s a great challenge ahead but one we should all look forward to and relish.”

Moore understands what is needed of him. Somehow he has to change Albion’s identity from one that served them well in the Premier League, one that even served him well towards the end of last season.

So far, he’s had to tackle this challenge under difficult circumstances. The summer just gone was always destined to be tricky, but Moore was dealt a rougher hand than anyone could predict.

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Giuliano Terraneo proved to be a disastrous appointment from China, and the technical consultant was quickly sidelined, heaping even more on the head coach’s plate.

Three of Moore’s senior professionals went AWOL to try and force through transfers, and not until 5pm this Thursday, has his squad really been settled. It may still not be.

Thanks to Belgium’s exploits at the World Cup, he was also forced to wait until just a few days before the season started for his No.2 Graeme Jones.

It was a summer of discontent, after a nightmarish season, and Albion are still in the process of recovering from it.

During that time, Moore held the club together like glue, just like he did towards the end of the last campaign, and put in an unreasonable amount of hours in the process.

Now his task is moulding the squad into his own, and it’s not going to happen immediately.

“The style of football that we’re trying to bring will be difficult because we don’t get any God given right to play the way we want to, but we will try,” he said. “We need to work at it.

“In the Premier League we had a style of play that was difficult to play against, in the Championship we want to be difficult to play against but we need to go out and get results as well.”

Despite that, he is acutely aware of modern football’s short-termism.

When he was asked what his team would look like in three or four months, he joked: “Let’s just get to three or four months!”

Moore is keenly aware that changes are not only needed on pitch, but also inside heads.

“The mentality of the group and the club, that’s all got to change,” he said. “The only way it changes is by working on the training ground and getting results on the pitch.

“If we are to change this, all departments need to help.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do and the games come thick and fast. Anyone who knows me knows what I will do. What was I like as a player? I’ll continue to be like that as a coach.”

That determination and diligence that got him the job in the first place is burning brighter than ever.

Give him time to implement his ideas, because after the last few months, it’s the least he deserves.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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