01:55 8th May 2013
And Clarke praises defensive trio for stepping up to the plate
STEVE Clarke has praised his players for making a success of an unfamiliar 3-5-2 formation to give last season’s champions Manchester City a scare.
The Baggies boss also made four changes to his starting XI for the Etihad Stadium encounter - and his team were unfortunate to slip to a 1-0 defeat.
In defence Craig Dawson made his first Barclays Premier League appearance of the season after recently returning from a successful loan spell at Bolton.
And Boaz Myhill and Gabriel Tamas made rare top-flight starts in the second of three games in eight days for Albion, who remain eighth in the table and two points ahead of Swansea with as many matches to play.
“We just wanted to do something a little bit different,” said Clarke.
“Boaz Myhill got his chance in the team earlier in the season and did great.
“He’s an international goalkeeper and has been working hard in training.
“I felt tonight was a good chance to give him a game.
“He deserved that chance and he was excellent.
“The change of system is something that has been in my mind for a few weeks.
“Obviously you have to pick and choose the right games.
“This was a game I felt it might be a good night to try it and it turned out it was.
“Maybe another training session or two and it would have been better.
“But the way the players put it into practice was excellent and I’m really pleased with them.”
He added: “Craig’s been out on loan at Bolton and had a great second half of the season.
“It was nice to have the chance to give him a game for us.
“He’s a good worker, a good boy and he’s dedicated – he slotted in well.
“Gabi Tamas came in and played like the international player he is.
“He’s been waiting patiently for a chance.
“Jonas was there as the left-sided balance.
“I thought the three centre-backs did well and the two wing-backs were energetic.
“When we tired a bit in the second half and went back to the back-four we opened the game up a little bit more and it invited City on.
“But we had to gamble with the three forwards and Shane [Long] had a great chance with his first touch.
“On another day we would have definitely got something from the game.”