Club News

Clarke happy to get back on track

Boss also delighted with clean sheet in goalless draw with Hammers

STEVE Clarke felt today’s goalless draw against West Ham was a fair result – and was delighted to end a run of three successive defeats.

The Baggies’ first clean sheet in seven games was enough to earn them a point as they stayed sixth in the Barclays Premier League after 17 games.

And in a Hawthorns encounter of no clear-cut chances the hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock with James Morrison twice hitting the crossbar in the second half.

“I thought a draw was probably just about the right result,” said Clarke.

“We didn’t quite do enough to get the three points.

“As the home team the onus is on us to try and win it.

“We tried to win it but nothing really fell for us.

“We spoke before the game about how it was important for us to defend well today and aim for the clean-sheet, which we got.

“That’s good because we haven’t had a clean sheet for a little while.

“That is one positive aspect.

“It does stop the run of defeats, which is another positive aspect.

“And it’s another point towards the total we’re trying to achieve.

“James Morrison had the best chance of the game.

“His header came off the crossbar and on another day it can fall in.”

Clarke started the game with a 4-4-2 formation but switched to his more customary 4-2-3-1 after the break.

And he threw on Romelu Lukaku and Markus Rosenberg in the latter stages of the game as he pushed for a winner.

“When you come to a game on the back of three defeats there is always going to be that bit of nervousness about the players and spectators,” he added.

“I thought we actually started the game quite brightly.

“We tried to get the crowd going but ran out of ideas towards the end of the first half.

“We were a little bit brighter in the second half but we still couldn’t create the chance we needed to to win it.

“We certainly didn’t want to lose another game.

“We didn’t set out for the draw, we set out to try and win it.

“You could see from the intent in the final 15 minutes, when I had as many strikers on the pitch as we had, we did try and win the game.

“It’s something we’ve tried to do this season - attack games and try and get three points.

“Sometimes you have to accept one – and today was one of those days.

“I thought in the second half today when Chris Brunt moved centrally he had a bigger influence on the game and did much better.

“Maybe it was my fault in the first half because I went 4-4-2 and it didn’t quite click.

“We went back to our normal system in the second half and we looked a little bit more lively.”