Club News

Clarke delighted to be 'back on track'

And boss admits he was about to take Odemwingie off before second goal

STEVE Clarke hailed his players for ‘getting back on track’ after two successive defeats by convincingly beating Southampton 2-0.

Peter Odemwingie’s deadly double – courtesy of a goal in either half – fired the Baggies up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League table.

And, while Clarke has been quick to ward against any complacency setting in, he believes his team fully deserve to be where they are after taking 17 points from their opening ten games.

“I don’t think 17 points from ten games exceeds expectations,” said the Hawthorns boss.

“I want more if I’m honest.

“I think, if I look at the course of the season and the games, with a bit more luck, we probably could have had more.

“But it is a good return and we’re not getting greedy or carried away.

“We know what our expectations within the club are and we’ll keep that to ourselves, and just keep working from game to game.

“We don’t get carried away.

“We have a really good group of players who have proved in the last two seasons they don’t get involved in the relegation dogfight.

“They finished comfortably mid-table and we’re trying to build on that.

“But the first target, as always, is to make sure you’re comfortable in the league.

“That’s what we’re doing at the moment.

“Seventeen points from ten games is good and we’re a good way to being comfortable.

“But if we hadn’t won the game tonight the league suddenly starts to tighten up.

“You always have to be careful in the Premier League.

“Once you get complacent and you start setting your sights a little bit too high it has a habit of coming back to bite you.

“So, we won’t do that.”

Clarke added: “I’m happy.

“After the last two defeats, the performances were good – but no points, so it was just important to get back on track tonight.

“The performance was okay, it was not exceptional.

“We had good control of the game, especially in the second half.

"We conceded possession a little bit but we controlled the game really well.

“We didn’t look under too much threat and we always looked as though we could score on the counter-attack.”

Clarke also admitted he was about to substitute Odemwingie just moments before the Nigeria hitman headed his second of the night – and third goal of the season to join Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku as the Baggies’ top scorers in the top-flight this term.

He quipped: “It could have been him!

“I felt the game was starting to drift a little bit and it was maybe time for a change.

“But when your players show the desire to get into the box as Peter did – he ran 70 yards – he must have smelled something!

“He must have felt there was something up when he saw the subs warming up.

“But he showed great desire to get into the box and get on the end of a fantastic cross from Shane Long.

“That’s the way football happens – on little moments like that things can turn.”