18:31 24th August 2013
Baggies boss delighted with gutsy Goodison Park draw
STEVE Clarke hailed his players for their gutsy showing in today’s goalless draw at Everton, insisting: “Our season started today.”
The Baggies boss was delighted with the response from his team following last weekend’s disappointing last-gasp 1-0 home defeat by Southampton.
And he has given his current crop of players a huge vote of confidence after their Goodison Park display.
“I think our season started today,” said Clarke.
“It was a hard-earned point and I think deserved.
“It shows what we’re all about as a team and maybe we didn’t show that quite as much last week, which was a disappointing weekend for everyone.
“We were determined to come here and do what we didn’t do last week.
“I think you saw the effort on the pitch and the result is a good one for us.
“We came here last season and got beaten, I watched Everton's first home game last season, against the team that became champions - Manchester United - and Everton won.
"So, it's a difficult place to come.
“It was a game where we did defend well but at the right moments we broke well and showed we are a threat going forward.
“And maybe, with better use of the ball in the second half, we could have made more of the opportunities we had on the counter-attack.
“We’ve bounced back today.”
He added: “Last weekend I was so disappointed about the way we played that I’m focusing all my attentions on the players we’ve got just now.
“If any other players come in - fantastic.
“If they don’t, then the group we have is fine – and I’ve told them this.
“It’s a strong group in the Premier League – and you saw that today.”
Clarke also explained how Foster being forced off changed his mind about bringing on new loan signing Scott Sinclair for his debut, and why he opted for captain Chris Brunt as his final substitution instead.
“Scott was going to come into the game," he said.
“But when you make a change goalkeeper for goalkeeper it’s not something you plan for.
“The idea would have been to bring Scott on at some stage, especially when the game had opened up and it was there for counter-attack.
“When we lost Ben I had to make a decision and I decided to go with Chris Brunt.
“He’s the captain and he knows his responsibilities.
“He goes on and we decided to see it out for one point rather than try and risk going for three.”