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Carlos Corberan drops selection hint and shares West Brom ‘miracle’

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At his West Bromwich Albion press conference, Carlos Corberan gave a mischievous smile and said, “You will see, you will have the answer in the upcoming games,” when asked if he would be rotating his team at The Hawthorns this week. Less than three days from now, on Saturday, Albion will host Sunderland after hosting Rotherham United this evening.

With two wins and six points, Albion can virtually guarantee their spot in the play-offs after Coventry City’s Tuesday night loss at Southampton and Norwich City’s two-point loss at relegation-threatened Sheffield Wednesday, despite leading 2-0 into the last moments. With the current deficit of six points, it would take a little miracle for Albion to miss out on a spot in the top six by the start of May if they can manage to get up to 75.

While a quartet from a pool of seven or eight players can occupy the interchangeable front four positions in the side, Corberan has recently relied heavily on Alex Mowatt and Okay Yokuslu in midfield. Although Corberan has used four different center halves in recent weeks, he has consistently turned to Mowatt and Yokuslu. The former is back from his period in the Middlesbrough wilderness and is a contender for player of the season.

Albion signed Yann M’Vila to a temporary contract after losing Jayson Molumby to injury in January. Nathaniel Chalobah is another option available to Corberan, though he hasn’t played since the hectic 2-2 draw against Queens Park Rangers more than a month ago. With two games in four days, could we see a more balanced use of the squad?

“I can play with any of my four midfield players with complete confidence. Two for four. The same applies to center back,” Corberan thought. “I’m comfortable, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean I’ll toss in the towel; instead, I’ll assess what the team needs. They compete with themselves to give it their all, and this self-discipline serves to fortify the group.

“Some players find that the competition in their position sometimes makes them realize that they have to give it their all at work. Not all players require it. To benefit the squad, I like to work with athletes that can perform at their highest level without the need for competition.This is how this group thinks. I don’t believe that any member of this group is keeping an eye out for potential problems. Collectively, they regard it as a positive.”

While Pipa, a loanee, hasn’t played much football lately and has only started one league game ahead of Darnell Furlong at right-back, Corberan has lauded those players who haven’t even found themselves in the matchday squad lately. The fierce rivalry for spots has also prevented Erik Pieters, a mainstay at center half last season, from playing.

“I have amazing players,” Corberan continued. It is a miracle that we have Erik Pieters. He is the type of person who always assures you, “I’m fine,” even when he is not on the squad. I’ll be prepared. I’ll continue to put in a lot of effort since the team is what matters most. You have to admit that Pipa’s work these days is fantastic. Although it would be incredibly unfair to leave any of my players off the squad at this time, that is what I desire. Regretfully, I must make unjust decisions.”

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