Club News

Boss hails team spirit

And Clarke also praises impact of subs

STEVE Clarke insisted today’s 1-1 draw at Tottenham was down to a team effort – but also hailed the impact his substitutes made in the White Hart Lane fightback.

Romelu Lukaka came on for Shane Long in the 63rd minute, Chris Brunt replaced Graham Dorrans with 15 minutes to go and Marc-Antoine Fortune made way for debutant Markus Rosenberg in the 78th minute.

All three made significant contributions to help James Morrison fire home a late strike to cancel out Benoit Assou-Ekotto's 74th-minute opener, although Clarke was quick to stress they built on the good work of their team-mates over the course of the game.

“We’re pleased with Romelu but we’re also pleased with Shane Long because he had the hard part of the game in the first half where Tottenham were on top of us,” said Clarke.

“Tottenham were moving the ball well without really creating as much as they would have liked.

“It’s great you can turn to your bench and see people who can go and have an impact on the game – and Romelu was one of them.

“Chris Brunt went in and did a good job for me and Markus Rosenberg came off the bench, so it’s a strong bench.

Clarke was again quizzed about the impact of Claudio Yacob, who caught the eye with his gritty performance in the midfield engine room.

But the Baggies boss was quick to highlight the defensive work of all his players.

“Youssouf Mulumbu was working well in there with Claudio,” he added.

“Marco Fortune is a forward player but he also does his defensive work.

“Graham Dorrans was the same, so everybody in the team knows their defensive roles.

“The forward players have to give us that little bit more, so their job is that little more difficult.

“The defenders can sit in and defend, you’re asking your attacking players to try and give you that little bit more so you can go and get something out of the game."

One attacking player Clarke was without was Peter Odemwingie, who is also unlikely to make Tuesday’s Capital One Cup second-round clash at Yeovil (ko 7.45pm) after missing the trip to North London due a training-ground niggle.