Sanchez: Missing a game did me good

Keeper is refreshed and ready for Albion's busiest spell of the season.

By Bruce Talbot • 01 December 2021

By James Boardman
Robert Sanchez has kept five clean sheets so far this campaign.

Rob Sanchez admits his enforced absence from the team might turn out to be a good thing as Albion prepare for their busiest spell of the season.

Tonight’s Premier League game against West Ham United is the first of eight fixtures between now and the trip to Everton on 2 January.

Sanchez, 24, was suspended for Albion’s 2-0 loss at Aston Villa ten days ago after he was sent off in the 1-1 draw against Newcastle.

With an international break immediately after that game, Sanchez didn’t play for three weeks before he was recalled for Saturday’s goalless draw with Leeds at the Amex when he kept his fifth clean sheet of the season - the joint fifth best tally in the division - and 15th in 39 top-flight games.

By James Boardman
Robert Sanchez has made 39 Premier League appearances for Albion.

He said, “It is always special for me to get a rest. I was obviously with Spain for the internationals. I didn’t play, I just trained, and I think the break I had was a good thing mentally and physically.

“I needed it, so to come back with a clean sheet against Leeds and a couple of saves in the second half felt good. I think I have come back stronger and obviously we now have a very busy period of the season, so it was good to start this period refreshed.”

Sanchez admits from his vantage point some of Albion’s play against Leeds was ‘unbelievable’ but he recognises the need to take the big chances that could turn a run of seven draws in the last nine games into a few more wins.

“It is unbelievable to watch. We have big quality players creating a lot of good chances but against Leeds we just needed that goal. We could have won the game 3-0 or 4-0 but at the end we could have lost it. The performance was really good, and we will take confidence from it going into West Ham and Southampton. The important thing is that we are creating the chances.”

Sanchez was particularly impressed with Tariq Lamptey’s man of the match display against Leeds, even though the 21-year-old is still finding his way after ten months out with injury.

“It is great to see Tariq getting his fitness back on the pitch after a long year. He is playing unbelievably, he is a pleasure to watch,” said Sanchez.

“He is at an unbelievable level now and he can get even better. It was really difficult seeing him out for nearly a year, but he was always happy, confident and working hard to get back and now he has had that opportunity and he has taken it.”

“To be honest, I don’t think I have played with anyone with that kind of pace, it’s unbelievable really. Another of his qualities is that he is fearless. He helps the team so much.”