Club News

Clarke: We got lost in the moment

But boss says defeat by ten-man champions was harsh

STEVE Clarke admitted Albion getting lost in the moment of pushing for a winner may have led to ten-man Manchester City pinching all three points with a last-gasp sucker punch in today’s 2-1 defeat at The Hawthorns.

The visitors handed the Baggies the initiative when James Milner was sent-off in the 23rd minute.

And Clarke’s side capitalised on their one-man advantage in the 67th minute when Shane Long fired them in front from substitute Peter Odemwingie’s shot.

The hosts were within ten minutes of ending the champions’ 13-game Barclays Premier League unbeaten run until super-sub Edin Dzeko levelled.

And, after Romelu Lukaku had twice come close to restoring Albion’s lead, Dzeko punished them with his second goal on the counter-attack from a corner in the second minute of stoppage time.

“I thought we deserved something out of it,” said Clarke.

“I thought we played well and stood up to the champions.

“They showed when they went down to ten men they are champions for a reason.

“Credit to them, I thought their performance with ten men was excellent.

“We played the way we play.

“When Peter comes on the pitch he gives us a spark.

“He combined with Shane a little fortuitously - but Peter was lively.

“The only feeling I have right now is of disappointment to lose the game so late.”

The Baggies boss added: “It may be a bad decision to go chasing the winner instead of settling for a point.

“We’re disappointed with the equaliser.

“I thought the free-kick was soft and I thought they got a number of soft free-kicks.

“It’s difficult because you don’t have an extra man when it’s a set-play.

“And the set-plays coming in the box were causing us problems.

“Unfortunately for us they got a soft equaliser.

“From there we still wanted to win the game.

“It’s a mind set and a characteristic we’ve got here and want to put into the players.

"When you get a corner-kick in injury time you think you can win it.

“Maybe we should have been a little bit more careful and made sure we didn’t lose it.”

And, asked if he would again allow his troops to commit so many bodies forward in a similar scenario, Clarke replied: “Once bitten, twice shy!

“I’d probably have had one extra player sitting.

“But I’d still chase the winner and would do it with a bit more care and attention.

“We had chances to win the game.

“If you are a neutral it must have been a great game to watch.

“The overwhelming feeling right now though when you lose a game like that is disappointment.

“It’s difficult to find words and, in the cold light of day tomorrow, when we reflect on it, we’ll take positives from this game.”