Maldera proud of Albion's 'big performance'

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Assistant head coach reflects on 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

By Bruce Talbot • 10 February 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Andrea Maldera gives instructions on the touchline.

Andrea Maldera was proud of a ‘big performance’ by Albion despite their stoppage-time defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.

Brennan Johnson’s goal earned Spurs a come-from-behind 2-1 win after Pape Matar Sarr had equalised. Pascal Gross’s first-half penalty, the German’s fifth goal of the season, had put Albion ahead. 

Assistant head coach Maldera, standing in for Roberto De Zerbi who is recovering from dental treatment in Italy, said, “When you lose the match in the last ten seconds it is very tough. But we played a very good match and I am disappointed for the players, because they gave their all and played with a big heart and with a lot of quality, but this is football. Tomorrow we have to change the page because sometimes you can lose like this."

Albion were pressing for the winner at the other end when Spurs finished off a clinical counter-attack. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Benicio Baker-Boaitey went close to scoring moments before Spurs got their last-gasp winner.

“This is our mentality, we always want to score a second goal," added Maldera. "We don’t think about staying in our half of the pitch. Yes we can do better, but they scored a very good quality second goal. Until that moment we played with big courage, we tried to press higher and JP [van Hecke] followed Maddison all over the pitch. This is our style and identity, we are disappointed with the result but proud of a big performance.

“I think Tottenham had good chances in the first part of the second half but in the last 25 minutes we created a lot of chances. In the first half we could have played better with the ball but we knew we would have more space in the second half. We had on the pitch three strikers at the end and felt we could have chances to score a second goal.”

Maldera revealed that he was in contact with De Zerbi throughout the match. “Roberto was in touch with us, not too much in the first half because the match was easy to read. He made some suggestions in half-time, and he had the ideas for the substitutions in the second half," added Maldera. 

He also said that De Zerbi will be back in time to take training on Monday, ahead of Albion’s match at Sheffield United next Sunday.