Club News

Clarke leaves pens up to players

Boss gives his verdict on penalty drama

STEVE Clarke insists he is happy to leave it up to the players to decide who takes penalties after mixed fortunes from the spot in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Liverpool.

After netting two penalties in pre-season, Shane Long could not make it three out of three as he saw Pepe Reina save his 59th-minute effort.

Peter Odemwingie grabbed the ball for the second of Albion's spot-kicks against the Reds and he converted in style.

Clarke said: “I think everyone fancied the second penalty.

“Shane scored two in pre-season so it was third time unlucky!

“You leave it to players who are confident.

“I saw Peter grab the ball and I was happy with that.”

The Baggies boss was delighted with the mental strength his players showed to remain positive despite the disappointment of missing the first penalty – and the chance to double their lead.

“It would have been nice had Shane scored but the reaction to us missing the penalty was good,” he added.

“The players didn't switch off, they didn't feel sorry for themselves - they kept attacking the game and got their reward with the second penalty - and then got the third to put a bit of gloss on the scoreline.”

And Clarke hopes substitute Romelu Lukaku’s first goal in English football inspires him to even bigger things at The Hawthorns.

“It's pleasing for Romelu to come off the bench and score," he said.

“He probably wanted to start but I have fantastic options on the bench.

“For any striker to come off the bench and score his first goal in the Premier League can only give someone confidence.”