Scott Parker bemoaned his side’s failure to stick to their style, as they threw away the chance of a win at the Cottage against West Brom.
For an hour, his team looked in charge and deservedly led with a goal just after the interval from Anthony Knockaert.
But the Whites boss says his team invited trouble by starting to play longer, turning the match into a ‘50-50 game of basketball’. And they paid the price when Semi Ajayi headed a late equaliser for the Baggies.
“I’m disappointed overall with the result. I thought the first half we were dominant, had some glorious opportunities really and probably it’s fair to say if you go 2-0 up in at half-time, I don’t think anyone would be grudging. We were worthy of that really.
“But I felt that after the goal, we probably played into West Brom’s hands and got away from what we are about and how I want us to play.
“We turned the game into a bit of a basketball match. We go back to front very early with 50-50 balls all of a sudden, whereas before that I felt we controlled the game and it was on our terms.
“If you are going to pump the ball up to Mitro [Aleksandar Mitrovic] who’s got two men around him, there’s only a 50-50 chance he’s going to win it, so that was a disappointment.”
Parker added: “These players, what we’re asking of them is how we want them to pay. For one, I feel that’s the only way we can play and that’s the way we’re going to win football matches this year, but for two, I can’t say how brave they are. It takes huge bravery to do what they do.
“First half, the crowd were on them a little bit, I sense and edginess about [Marcus] Bettinelli playing out from the back. But why are we doing that? We are doing it for a reason. West Brom are going to sit off us and we need to carve out openings
“The easy option is for Bettinelli to bang it down to Mitrovic, but for me these players and this team will not win football matches like that. I want the players to believe in what they are doing and have the courage and bravery at 1-0 up, or when West Brom are in the ascendancy, to keep doing it.”