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Clarke: Players got just desserts

4 August 2012

Head coach pleased with team spirit shown at Hillsborough

STEVE Clarke was pleased that his players had something to show for their hard graft in the sun at Hillsborough thanks to Peter Odemwingie’s brilliant late strike.

Ben Foster had little to do all game – and he could do little about Sheffield Wednesday’s 34th-minute opener, which came courtesy of a Nejc Pecnik cross which took a wicked deflection off Youssouf Mulumbu.

However, the Baggies finally got the goal their endeavour deserved two minutes from time when Odemwingie gave former Baggies loan signing Chris Kirkland no chance with a lethal 25-yard drive.

“It was a good performance,” said Clarke.

“Apart from the first couple of minutes, when we made a couple of sloppy passes, we controlled the game up until Wednesday scored.

“It was an unfortunate goal. It was a cross that got deflected into the back of our net.

“Our reaction to losing that goal was a little bit disappointing, as we didn’t get back into the game before half-time.

“In the second half, the game went down a level.

“There were a lot of tired legs on the pitch and there wasn’t quite the same sharpness.

“But we basically controlled the second half.

“We had one or two chances and had to rely on a long-range shot from Peter to get us a draw.

“But it was a well-deserved draw.

“We picked things up towards the end.

“We were chasing, fighting and showed we’ve got a great spirit.

“It was good for the players to get a little reward for their efforts.”

Clarke has been working with the team for a month and says he is still learning about his players, and experimenting with systems, ahead of the league opener against Liverpool in a fortnight’s time.

“You’re always learning – you never stop learning,” he added.

“You’re always asking questions of your players.

“I shuffled the formation around a couple of times today, just to see different players doing different things.

“And it was another satisfactory workout.

“We had no new injuries and it was another good physical exercise against a decent team.”

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