Club News

Clarke: Forget about reputations

Boss says his men will respect but not fear champions

STEVE Clarke has urged his players to forget about reputations when they take on champions Manchester City tomorrow (ko 3pm).

The visitors’ continued their big spending by splashing out more than £50million in the summer transfer window.

But Clarke says his men should respect and not fear the talent at Roberto Mancini’s disposal, especially as City have drawn at Liverpool and Stoke this term - and sixth-placed Albion are just one point behind them in the Barclays Premier League table after seven games.

“If you have money to spend you go out and spend it – and you have to spend it wisely,” said the Baggies boss.

“I think we’ve spent it wisely this year and Man City will claim they have spent it wisely because in a very short space of time they have become champions.

“But the challenge for us is 11 versus 11 on a matchday, or 14 against 14 if you use the subs.

“That’s the challenge.

“It doesn’t matter how much they cost.

“We respect but we don’t fear them and we’ll look to give them a good game.”

Despite the closeness of the two sides in the current standings, Clarke recognises the pressure remains on both clubs for very different reasons.

“I think the pressure is there for every club,” the Albion chief added.

“The pressure at Man City is to win trophies and not lose matches.

“You go from game to game looking to win game after game.

“One of the things at Chelsea when I was there was to look to win ten games in a row.

“Whereas maybe at another club you are only looking to win a couple in a row - you think you might lose one and get a draw here.

“At that level you know you need to string together a result or maybe ten consecutive wins.

“The pressure to win is there – but you deal with it.

“It’s part and parcel of the job.

“You get on a run and you just keep playing the matches as they come along.

“I was fortunate at Chelsea that we did go on runs where we were winning, winning and winning.

“It’s a good feeling and it does build the momentum.

“Cuty are looking at maybe dropping no more than 25 to 30 points to be champions.

“They would work backwards on that principal.

“We work it the other way in terms of trying to reach 40 points because that’s normally enough to stay in the Premier League.

“But the pressure is the same at all clubs.

“You get just as disappointed when you lose and as happy when you win.”