Club News

Clarke: We'll take our medicine

And boss explains why he made no substitutions after issuing half-time challenge

STEVE Clarke insisted it is a case of ‘taking your medicine and moving on’ after tonight’s disappointing 3-1 defeat at Swansea.

The Hawthorns boss handed the plaudits to Michael Laudrup’s Swans as they ended Albion’s four-game winning streak with a first-half onslaught.

Michu’s ninth-minute opener was followed by two goals from Wayne Routledge in the 12th minute and six minutes before the break.

Romelu Lukaku gave the visitors a lifeline with his fifth goal of the season in first-half stoppage time.

But it proved nothing more than a consolation despite an improved second-half performance by the Baggies, who drop a place to fourth on goal difference.

“It was very unexpected,” said Clarke.

“We started so slowly it was incredible. You wouldn’t have believed we could start so slowly.

“We knew coming down here that Swansea were a fantastic team and I think they are a really good footballing team.

“We knew they would cause us problems but we didn’t expect them to cause us so many problems so early in the game.

“We didn’t give ourselves a platform and when you’re chasing it is always difficult in this league.

 “We’ve had a really good season, we’ve played really well and we’ve had four wins in a row.

“The team was good and we went into the game confident, we went with more or less the same players and the same system but it’s football and it happens.

“Swansea got the quick start and got in front of us and we left ourselves too much to do.”

The Albion chief switched from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-4-2 set-up at the break and explained why he made no substitutions throughout the game after challenging his players at half-time to turn things around at the Liberty Stadium.

“Changing formation was just something that I thought we should do to try to get ourselves back into the game,” Clarke stated.

“We gave ourselves a lifeline with the goal just on half-time but I can’t say we deserved that goal.

“If it had been 3-0 at half-time we could’ve had no complaints but we gave ourselves a little chance in the second half.

“We decided to change the system and I thought the second half was better.

“We got more into the game and huffed and puffed a little bit, and disrupted Swansea’s passing rhythm as much as we could.

“We didn’t really create enough clear-cut chances to get a second goal.

“If we’d got it to 3-2 it might have been a different story but we didn’t and I can say we deserved to get beaten.”

He added: “Of course I was tempted to make subs.

“From the start of the half I was thinking about changes and what to do to improve it but I thought the team then were in good shape and if we had nicked a goal for 3-2 we might have got them thinking a bit.

“But the players had put themselves in a terrible position in the first half and I challenged them at half-time to try to get out.

“And fair play to the players, they had a go in the second half.

“It was just a normal half-time talk.
“We had a little chat about what we’d done wrong and how we’d given ourselves so much to do and I just challenged them to do better in the second half - and I think they did.”