Club News

Clarke: Don't pigeonhole Hammers

Boss highlights different dangers Allardyce's men possess

STEVE Clarke has warned his players against any misconceptions about the type of team West Ham are ahead of tomorrow’s Hawthorns clash (ko 4pm).

The Baggies boss insists Sam Allardyce’s 11th-placed Hammers are far from being a long-ball team and is more than aware of the different dangers they will pose his sixth-placed men.

But Clarke is hoping he can secure victory in what will be his first game as a head coach against his old club.

“They have passionate fans, who care about their team, they try to play football the right way,” said Clarke.

“I don't care what anyone says about Sam and his teams, he always tries to play football the right way.

“They try to be positive, they try to get balls in the box, they try to score goals, and for me that is always the right way to play football.

“You can become stereotyped if you like and there is a little bit of that with Sam.

“He has got good football players in that team.

“I've watched a number of their games this season and they play good football when they are allowed to play good football.

“If it becomes a scrap then they are a team that can stand up for a scrap as well.

“Whatever type of game it is at the weekend, West Ham will be ready for it.

“I can assure West Ham we will be ready for it as well.”

Clarke also admits, although his time as assistant to boss Gianfranco Zola at Upton Park was enjoyable, it was a testing period he learnt lessons from.

“I’ve learned lessons from every job I’ve done, from the youth team job at Chelsea to working as a coach with Ruud Gullit and Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle,” he added.

“I’ve learned from every situation.

“The West Ham job was good because I came out of Chelsea football club, where success was part and parcel of the season for us, and I went to a club where success wasn’t part and parcel every season.

“But it was difficult, you had to think about different things, find different ways to motivate players, and find different ways to get results on a Saturday.”