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Bruce says what West Brom ‘have to try and address’ after Middlesbrough draw

West Brom manager Steve Bruce was unhappy with his side’s first-half performance in the 1-1 draw v Middlesbrough on Saturday.

West Brom opened their 2022/23 Championship campaign and their first full season under Bruce with a trip to the Riverside to face Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough.

Both teams will surely have top-six hopes this season, but it was the home side who took the lead with Isaiah Jones netting after just 10 minutes of the game.

Five minutes into the second half though, new signings Jed Wallace and John Swift combined to get the Baggies back on level terms, with the latter firing home for the away side.

Speaking after the game, Bruce explained how his side’s reaction to going behind in the first half was not good enough.

“The second half was certainly more like it. I thought we were a bit passive in everything we did in the opening 45,” Bruce said.

“I thought we actually made a bright start but then they went and scored. If I’m brutally honest, our response after the goal simply wasn’t good enough.

“In the second half it was much more like it and it turned into a really good game. It was end-to-end and if I’m being biased here, I thought we maybe edged it.

“We probably had the better opportunities in the second half.”

Wallace and Swift started further forward for West Brom. The pair certainly bring a new element of quality to the side and provide that creative spark that was largely missing throughout the entirety of last season.

Karlan Grant started up front too, with Daryl Dike coming on later in the game.

“I was pleased with the character they showed after the break,” Bruce continued.

“I said to the players that the club has had a bad couple of years with relegation from the Premier League and then last season not going as well as we all would’ve wanted it to.

“I told them it’s a mentality thing we have to try and address.”

On the mend…

West Brom certainly have a better playing squad now than they did last term, The additions of Wallace and Swift gave the Baggies a notable injection of creative and flair in the final third but like Bruce says, the biggest obstacle for his player may well be a psychological thing.

The bulk of the squad is the same as last season and, especially in the second half of the campaign, the Baggies lost a lot of games.

Playing in a ruthless Championship division, it’s going to be tough to breed a winning mentality. But the season has only just begun and Bruce’s Baggies have a chance to claim their first win of the campaign when they go up against Watford a week from today.

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