09:10 20th September 2013
Clarke urges striker's team-mates to ease burden on him
STEVE Clarke insists Albion’s goalscoring burden does not just lie with ‘star’ summer signing Nicolas Anelka heading into tomorrow’s home clash with Sunderland.
The Baggies have managed just one goal in their opening four games – Gareth McAuley’s stoppage-time header in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Fulham.
Anelka – who notched seven times in pre-season – has started three of those matches and has been unfortunate not to open his Barclays Premier League account for his new team.
But Clarke says all his players need to step up to the mark as Albion look to match the form that saw them fire 53 top-flight goals last term.
“Pre-season is different from the regular season,” said the Hawthorns boss.
“The league games are tougher than the pre-season games.
“I think Nicolas’ form, by and large, has been good.
“He’s brought a different dimension to the team.
“I think it is wrong people single out Nicolas as the name.
“He’s part of a team that has struggled to create chances.
“It’s not just about Nicolas creating chances and scoring goals. It’s about everybody else chipping in.
“When the team defends well I credit the whole team for everyone working hard to defend.
“And if you notice from the end of last season - when we leaked a lot of goals - this season we haven’t conceded very many goals.
“Although we’ve tightened up at the back we need to find a little more creativity going forward.
“But that’s not only up to Nicolas Anelka.
“That’s for everyone in the team.
“Everybody has to step up to the mark and start to create more chances, and start to score more goals.
“When you’re a star – and Nicolas is a star in the world of football – he’s going to grab the headlines.
“But football is a team game.
“We’re delighted Nicolas is here and has raised the profile of the club but it is everybody’s job to do well and create chances, and score goals for the team – not only Nicolas.”