14:31 15th August 2013
And boss hopes fans excited by new recruits ahead of Saints opener
STEVE Clarke has called on his men to find ‘another level’ to meet the higher expectations they will face this season – starting with Saturday’s home clash with Southampton (ko 3pm).
The Hawthorns boss hopes his new signings – Nicolas Anleka, Matej Vydra and Diego Lugano – will not only excite the Baggies fans but help his team build on last season’s eighth-place finish.
He is also looking to add at least two more new faces to his squad before the transfer window closes at 11pm on September 2.
But for now he is focused on entertaining a Saints side his men did the double over last season – 2-0 at home and 3-0 at St Mary’s.
“I think throughout last season, even from Southampton’s first game when they lost 3-2 at Man City, they showed they would compete and try and play good football," said Clarke.
“I like them, I like a lot of their players, I think they’re a good footballing side.
“For us, I think it is a dangerous game and we need to be 100 per cent focused on it to make sure we get the right result.
“I expect the same side from Southampton and I’m hopeful we’ll get the same results.
“They had a really good first season back in the Premier League.
“They invested heavily when they came up and they’ve invested heavily again this summer.
“They’re making their intentions clear that they want to become a viable, positive Premier League club.
“It’s a difficult game for us.
“We probably go into the game as slight favourites, whereas last year we kicked off against Liverpool at home and everyone expected them to win.
“This season it’s slightly different because the fact we finished eighth last season will mean teams will come to us now and make it difficult for us.
“We got a little taste of that in the second half of last season and we look forward to the challenge.
“It’s up to us to combat that - we have to find another level.”
The Albion chief was unaware of any injury concerns in his ranks - with his international stars due to report back this afternoon - as the club continue to work on adding further new recruits.
He added: “If I could get two more players in I would be happy, if we could get three more then I think we’d be set.
“Any football fan gets exciting when their football club brings in new signings.
“The fans have had a long summer as well waiting to see what we can produce.
“Hopefully they will be excited.”