Carlos Corberan felt West Brom deserved play-off spot

The Baggies will play Southampton in the semi-finals.

Carlos Corberan’s side finished fifth
Carlos Corberan’s side finished fifth (Richard Sellers/PA)

Carlos Corberan was a proud man as he watched his West Brom side breeze to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Preston and secure a Championship play-off place.

Alex Mowatt got the ball rolling when he converted a penalty, won by Darnell Furlong, in first half stoppage time, before captain Kyle Bartley doubled their lead on the hour mark.

Furlong himself then struck a third in the 68th minute after good work from fellow full-back Conor Townsend.

Corberan, who reached the play-off final with Huddersfield in 2022, will now prepare his players for a semi-final duel with Southampton over two legs, but in the aftermath of this win pride was his overriding emotion.

“Football is about this – making your best so you can live these special moments,” he said.

“I’m happy to have the possibility to put this group there and to do it with this group of players. They deserve, over the season, the position we’ve achieved today.

“We’ve been there for many, many weeks and means we don’t go on holiday – I wasn’t ready for a holiday! I wanted to live the moment we’re going to live. The first target, to reach the play-offs, is done, and now we will work towards the next one.

“I wanted to relive this moment, after Huddersfield, because this club deserve it. Unfortunately last year we couldn’t achieve it, but this year we have.

“The play-offs give you the step that allow you to fight for promotion. We know we are going to have a massively strong test, because Southampton are a team that were in the Premier League last year and who deserve their position too.

“We know how difficult the new target, which is Wembley, will be to achieve, but we are going to make our best.”

Preston manager Ryan Lowe, meanwhile, saw his side’s end-of-season slump culminate in a fifth straight defeat.

He intends to begin work immediately to improve North End’s chances of closing the gap to the play-offs next term.

“We were nowhere near the level,” he admitted.

“It’s been disappointing for everyone involved, the fans and hierarchy, because we wanted to finish the season on a high. To finish 10th is a good bonus, 63 points – we wanted more.

“It’s my job to find solutions and be better next season. The recruitment has already started, to find more leaders, more quality for when we have a burst of injuries as we’ve had.

“I’m convinced we can get to 70-odd points. This (losing the final five matches) doesn’t happen if you’ve got more points, because you’re in with a fighting chance. I don’t think my team would’ve gave in like it looks like they have. That’s disappointing.

“Between nine, 10, 11 points (to the play-offs), we have to make up that gap. There have been times this season where we should’ve won.

“We’d have been in a better position, but I believe in my ability, my staff’s ability, the players we’ve got at our disposal now and I think we can achieve some great things and keep pushing on.”