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Boss: That's why Olsson is so crucial

1 September 2012

And Clarke provides update on Reid injury

STEVE Clarke insists Jonas Olsson’s performance in today’s 2-0 win over Everton highlighted just why Albion are so keen to persuade him to sign a new deal.

The Baggies boss is delighted to still see the Sweden international at The Hawthorns after the summer transfer window closed yesterday.

The centre-half remains in negotiations with the club after entering the final year of his current contract.

And Clarke praised him and his partner at the heart of the defence, Gareth McAuley, for their part in keeping out an in-form Toffees team – and recording a second clean sheet in three league games.

“It was very important to keep Jonas here,” the Scot said.

“Anyone who has followed Albion over the last few years knows Jonas is an integral part of the team.

“When the ball is on the edge of your box and the opposition have got some big lads up front you know Jonas and big Gareth McAuley are going to stick their head on it and put their bodies on the line.

“It’s really important you defend well – and both of them do that.”

He added: “It’s a statement from the club that they’ve got key players and don’t have to cash in.

“The club’s in a good position and is run well.

“The people at the club know what they’re doing and how they want the club to run.

“Maybe it is a risk with Jonas, but maybe if we keep winning matches it will make his decision easier to sign a new contract.

“I said right from the start I didn’t want him to go.

“I had some early conversations with him and all the conversations I’ve had with him over pre-season were about the fact we respected his position that he was going into the last year of his contract - and he had to respect our position that if we wanted to keep him and run the contract down we would do that.”

Clarke also revealed Steven Reid came off as a precaution in the 52nd minute due to a tight hamstring.

“Steve just felt a little tightening and decided it wasn’t worth the risk so came off,” he said.

“Billy Jones went in and did his normal steady job.”

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