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Valerien Ismael says Sam Johnstone missed Preston defeat over disciplinary issue

West Bromwich Albion v Preston North End – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

West Brom head coach Valerien Ismael revealed England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone missed the 2-0 home defeat to Preston through disciplinary issues on a night when supporters turned on the Frenchman.

Johnstone failed to make the squad after a three-match ban and was replaced by David Button.

“We had a matter, an issue in the squad and have solved the problem,” said Ismael.

“He was not in the squad tonight and he will not be in the squad on Saturday but after that he will be involved. It will stay internal.”

Albion failed to create a single effort on target and fans chanted for Slaven Bilic, one of Ismael’s predecessors and the last man to lead the club to the Premier League, also singing ‘Valerien Ismael, your football is s**t’.

They also lost their unbeaten home record in the Championship after a club record 13 games.

Ismael admitted: “We understand everything. We accept it.

“I take my responsibility and when we see something like that, they have the right to boo and criticise.

“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.

“We missed everything we wanted – it was a very strange feeling.

“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.”

Emil Riis Jakobsen prodded Preston ahead in the 41st minute after Kyle Bartley deflected Greg Cunningham’s cross goalwards.

Debutant substitute Cameron Archer, on loan from Aston Villa, nodded the second on 76 after Button could only parry Cunningham’s angled drive.

Preston manager Ryan Lowe praised his side for believing in themselves.

He said: “You’ve got to come to these places and believe you can win.

“West Brom is an intimidating place to come and they’ve got a wealth of money coming from the Premier League and they’re trying their best to get out of this division.

“But we wanted to go toe to toe with them and the lads were fantastic.

“We nullified their strengths and worked on doing that over the last couple of days on the training pitch.

“West Brom try to drag you all over the pitch but I thought we were fantastic in not getting sucked into that.”

Lowe was delighted with the impact of Archer, who had only been on the pitch for 11 minutes when he scored.

“Cameron is always in the right place at the right time,” he said.

“I spoke to him on the pitch beforehand and asked him if he visualised the goal and he said ‘yes’.

“We know what we have got with him – he’s a goalscorer, he runs the channels well and he’s a fox in the box.

“I thought the second goal was a fantastic counter-attack with Alan Browne driving on and sliding in Greg Cunningham for the shot and when it was parried, ‘Cam’ was there.”

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