The five key quotes from Sam Allardyce's post-Fulham press conference
Sam Allardyce, Manager of West Bromwich Albion gives their team instructions during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Fulham at The Hawthorns on January 30, 2021 in West Bromwich. (Photo by Paul Childs)

West Bromwich Albion drew 2-2 with Fulham at The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon in what was an entertaining battle between two sides fighting for survival in the Premier League.

Goals from Kyle Bartley and Matheus Pereira canceled out the opener from Bobby Decordova Reid in the second half, before Ivan Cavaleiro’s diving header claimed a point for the visitors.

Baggies boss Sam Allardyce spoke to the media after the game:

On the result

Fulham controlled the first half and the attacking football was one-way traffic, leaving West Brom in trouble and heading for yet another home defeat.

Allardyce admitted that the Cottagers were on top at the break but praised his team's response and believes they deserved to win.

“It’s ended up with a draw which probably neither of us really wanted,” he said. “We should have won it. When you come in 1-0 down at half-time and Fulham have been the better side we had to change the way we were playing.

“We dominated for the first 30 minutes of the second half and got 2-1 up but once again our frailties defensively have let us down.”

On the poor first half

The first half dominance from Fulham included a goal from Decordova Reid, alongside the right wing-back hitting the post and Ruben Loftus-Cheek skimming the crossbar.

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This led to Allardyce making an early change to his system. He replaced Dara O’Shea with Karlan Grant, switching to a 4-4-1-1 formation.

The Baggies boss explained what his team were doing wrong and why he had to make the early changes. He said: “I felt like the occasion was playing on the players’ minds and we were making the wrong choices in the first half.

“My job was to change the system after about 25 minutes to make sure we didn’t go more than one goal down.”

On a further change in style

As well as the early change, Allardyce made another at half time. Callum Robinson was substituted which handed a debut to Mbaye Diagne who signed for the club on loan from Galatasaray the day before the game.

Diagne made a big impact, setting up Pereira for his goal and providing a much-needed threat to the West Brom attack.

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Allardyce went into detail about this style change and how he utilised his new striker. He said: “We changed it again in the second 45 by putting Matheus [Pereira] in behind Mbaye Diagne.

“We asked the players to play a much more simple style. That style was to play to the front man, into his feet or chest. We were winning knock-downs and getting wide and getting crosses in. We got 2-1 in front using those tactics and we almost made it 3-1.”

On conceding against the run of play

The changes put West Brom on the front foot and they dominated in the second half. Fulham had lost their momentum and Scott Parker’s side struggled to get a foothold on the game after conceding.

However, against the run of play, the visitors leveled through Cavaleiro’s header. Allardyce spoke about the goal and how disappointed he was to lose the lead late on.

“Unfortunately, without Fulham causing too many problems, we slip up and they equalise due to a defensive mistake,” he said. “It was a header at the far post with the Fulham player completely unmarked. That prevented us from getting three points today and I’m disappointed about that.”

On possible transfers 

With two days left in the January transfer window, Allardyce revealed if the club have any plans to bring some players in.

The Baggies boss said: “It has to be two more if we can. I would love it to be Ainsley Maitland-Niles but I don’t think that will be the case, but we need another quality player or two if we can before the window closes on Monday.”