BEN Foster believes Steve Clarke’s harsh half-time words provided the catalyst for Albion’s stunning comeback in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Villa at The Hawthorns.
The Baggies trailed their local rivals by two goals going into the interval but their rejuvenated second-half performance, which included goals from skipper Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie, earned the hosts a deserved point.
And the 29-year-old stopper insists Clarke’s reaction during the break was needed to spur the hosts on to claw back their two-goal deficit.
“We never got started,” said Foster.
“The gaffer gave us a bit at half time in the changing room which was fair enough because nobody seemed to be at it.
“We came out second half, the fans got behind us, and it’s always that classic scoreline 2-0, we got the third one and it went from there, we were all over them to be fair, and deserved at least a draw.
“It’s not like us, we are normally at it all the time, but they were much better than us, they were all over us, they could have scored three or four.
“The gaffer’s not like that normally, he’s one of the calmer head coaches and I think the lads do appreciate that, but there are times when you do need to be given a bit and he did, he gave us more than a bit.
“He’s not a crazy manager, he’s not a screamer and shouter, but he just said: ‘It’s a local derby for God’s sake, try and do something for your fans’, and we did.
“The first half we were getting absolutely run over, they were very good, they were playing some very attacking football, they play a nice style, they pass it around nicely and they take a few risks which does leave them open at the back.
“They put every player virtually onto one side of the pitch and if you do get the ball back off them you can hit them in the spaces.
“That was something everybody understood when the shouting was over.
"If you had the ball off the left-back or the right-back you could pretty much guarantee that if you were under a bit of pressure you could hit it into the other side of the pitch and there would be somebody there waiting to take it on.
“That was how we worked it, we dealt with Benteke better too, because he was a beast in the first half, he showed why he was worth so much money, he was pretty unplayable, but we got to grips with him and started to get the ball off him and get it into the opposite corner."
Foster made a vital save to deny Eric Lichaj seconds before the break and it proved a pivotal point in the game.
“Three-nil would have been a bit too much," the Baggies No.1 added.
“I think first half we created a few chances, maybe they were long distance, but we kept plugging away.
“Brunty hit a pearler and from then on only one team was going to get the next goal.”