Club News

Clarke targets points not plaudits

Head coach prepared to play ugly to get job done

STEVE Clarke is happy to take the plaudits for Albion’s style but insists he won’t hesitate playing ugly if he thinks it will bring home three points.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini suggested the Baggies were playing the best football in the Barclays Premier League during the build-up to last weekend’s Hawthorns defeat.

Clarke, who will lead his team into action at Newcastle this afternoon (ko 3pm), says his footballing philosophies are a by-product of his playing days, when he liked to get forward.

But he says winning matches – not admirers – is his primary objective as Albion head coach.

“When I was a player, I liked to play in an attacking team and play attacking football,” reflected Clarke.

“That’s not to say if you need to grind out a result, you can’t do it.

“It’s great to have a philosophy, but there are different ways to win matches, which are dictated by different factors.

“For me, football is all about winning. That’s the bottom line.

“We’re professionals looking to win games, and if one week you have to play ugly to win, we’ll play ugly.”

On Mancini’s comments, Clarke added: “There might have been different motives in him saying what he did, but it was a nice compliment.

“If we can continue to play good football and get results, then that’s great, but some weeks there’ll be periods when you have to be ugly. I think we can do that too.”

The perfect combination for Clarke is winning games and entertaining the fans along the way.

But he warns that is not always possible.

“If you play fantastic football and get beaten, it’s no good. You have to win matches,” he added.

“When Tony Mowbray was here, I know they liked to pass the ball from the back.

“They were quite cavalier under Roberto Di Matteo and a little bit different under Roy Hodgson.

“I came into this job without a template – because every game is different.

“But the basic principles are: can we play attractive football? Can we entertain the public?

“When the supporters go away from the stadium, I want them to be talking about the game, about this chance and that chance.

“Last weekend, they probably all went home pig sick but they would be talking about all the chances they saw and the incidents.

“They go away talking about good things. It was a game that had almost everything.

“Football is an entertainment business and I want to try and entertain.

“But I also have to separate the entertainment from the fact that if I don’t get positive results, I’m not doing my job.

“Last week we entertained and got beaten and I would rather not entertain so much and win.”