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Long gets what he wanted

29 August 2012

And striker praises fans and team-mates for digging deep

SHANE Long insisted he was more than delighted to be the only player from Steve Clarke’s starting XI at Tottenham to kick-off last night’s 4-2 Capital One Cup win at Yeovil.

The Baggies striker was eager to play in the second-round clash against the League One leaders after he felt he produced a below-par display against Spurs three days before.

And he made the most of his opportunity by bagging a double – his first goals of the new campaign to put himself firmly in the reckoning for Saturday's top-flight encounter with Everton (ko 3pm).

“I wanted to play,” said Long.

“I’m used to playing Saturday-Tuesday from my time at Reading in the Championship and the more games I play, the better I feel on the pitch and the more chances I have to score goals.

“That will build my confidence and I can go into Saturday on a high.

“There is strong competition for the strikers and, with the way we play, there is only really one place up front.

“There is a lot of competition but it’s good for the squad that there is a headache for the head coach.

“When you do get your chance to start up front you know you’ve got to take it because there is quality on the bench and players waiting to take your place.

“Against Liverpool I was pleased with my performance.

“I was frustrated not to get goal and to miss a penalty but I felt I was playing well.

“I felt I dipped a bit against Tottenham, which is why I wanted to play last night to try to get back up to form and get my confidence going again.

“And I’m a great believer that if you work hard for the team the goals will take care of themselves.”

The Ireland international also praised his team-mates for battling back from 1-0 down and keeping their nerve at 2-2 to overcome an in-form Glovers side.

“We knew it was a tough place to go,” added Long.

“They scored 11 goals in their first four games and we knew we would have to dig deep.

“But we showed great character from 1-0 down and 2-2 at a fairly hostile place to show our class and come away with the win.

“In the first half they threatened us with a few set-pieces and we concentrated at half-time on snuffing them out and not giving them anything to hold onto.

“We did that in the second half.

"It was a good ball over the top and a good cross for their second goal and the pressure was on us a little bit.

“But we dug deep, kept going and showed character.

“We could have folded, especially at a place like that because their fans were very good, but so were ours.

“The place was hopping all night and it was a good cup game.

“We’re disappointed to be conceding goals like that but at the same time four goals away from home is a good return.”

And the 25-year-old hitman says the result was yet another confidence boost as the Baggies extended Steve Clarke’s unbeaten start as head coach to three games.

“Ben Foster managed to win the League Cup and he tells us how big an occasion it is,” said Long.

“You have to go to places like Yeovil on Tuesday nights to make sure you’re there in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

“A good cup run gets confidence going and gives players a game to show what they can do, so it will be good for everybody if we can have a run in the cup.”

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