Defender convinced nothing fazes head coach Clarke
JONAS Olsson is convinced that nothing can faze Steve Clarke – after seeing the head coach keep his cool in the Boxing Day traffic jams!
The Swedish international claims the head coach has been calmness personified since being appointed in June, which has had a galvanising effect on the squad and played a key part in their impressive first half of the season.
Clarke could have been forgiven for displaying a spot of road rage as the congestion on the West London roads resulted in the Baggies arriving late for the game at QPR and curtailed their pre-match preparations.
It took the team coach an hour just to make the short five-mile journey from their hotel to Loftus Road, which resulted in the kick-off being moved back 15 minutes.
But Clarke took it all in his stride and guided the team to a second successive win.
And Olsson has been impressed by his boss’ ability to keep his focus no matter what obstacles are put in front of him.
“The gaffer is always calm,” said the central defender, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to leaders Manchester United.
“He is a very calm person so you couldn’t see any pressure when we were stuck in the traffic.
“For me, being calm is normally an indication of intelligence, when you’re composed and you think before you speak. You’re really confident in your way of playing and you don’t get excited or panic at all.
“The only time I’ve seen him a bit angry since he took over was during half-time against Norwich – but that’s it!
“He is very confident in that way, and that reflects on the players as well.
“We had two really good seasons before this one and what Roy Hodgson really put into the team was organisation.
“The new gaffer has embraced that and added a few ideas and thoughts himself.”
Albion have bagged an impressive 33 points at the halfway stage – just one point less than the tally they amassed during their entire Great Escape campaign in 2004/05.
Few would have tipped the Baggies to be in sixth place after 19 games – but Olsson claims there are no delusions of grandeur among the players.
His message to his team-mates is to simply keep doing what they have been and see where it takes them.
“We want to stay up there as long as possible – and hopefully at the end of May,” said Olsson.
“People said earlier on that we had had a good start, but now we’re 19 games into the season and we’re still up there.
“Hopefully, we can keep it up and keep battling for places in that region of the table.
“I just think we need to keep going and see where we are at the end.
“Our first goal before the season started was to get 40 points. We haven’t reached that yet so that is still our first goal."