STEVE Clarke insisted the days of Albion being bullied at Stoke are long gone as he reflected on a hard-earned point in today’s goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.
The Hawthorns boss admitted what was only the Baggies’ fifth stalemate this term lacked entertainment value.
But, although his team missed a cutting edge, Clarke was delighted with their seventh clean sheet of the campaign as they stayed eighth in the Barclays Premier League table – and closed the gap on Liverpool to one point.
“You don’t bully this team,” said Clarke.
“This team is strong mentally and strong physically.
“They knew what they were coming here for.
“We tried to play and when the game opened up a little in the second half we tried to get it down and tried to pass it.
“But we didn’t really have enough cutting edge to create the chances maybe we needed just to get that goal.
“It was a game of very few chances and probably very little entertainment for the people watching.
“It was a poor game but a good point.
“Away points are hard to come by in the Premier League.
“We want to try and improve our away record.
“We always like to try and win games but sometimes it’s not possible.
“It’s only the fifth game we’ve drawn this season, so we don’t draw very often.
“It’s a difficult place to come, we knew it would be a tough game and a game of few chances, which it turned out to be.
“But the clean sheet for us is important.
“It’s always important to defend well, especially away from home.”
Ben Foster was again solid as a rock behind an impressive Baggies backline and he denied substitute Kenwyne Jones at the death before heading off for England duty.
Clarke added: “Ben was good again in difficult conditions, especially in the last 15 minutes when I think someone was trying to tell us something!
“His handling was excellent.
“But the team in front of him defended well today.
He’s just another key element of a good defensive unit.
“We defend well as a team.
“I thought the four defenders today were outstanding and Claudio Yacob in front of them gave good cover.
“The more attacking players did their job defensively.
“Since Ben came back from the second operation he had - it took him three or four weeks to get himself up to speed - his performances have been top level.
“He’s made himself available for England, which can only be good news for England, because now they have another good player available for selection.”