Club News

Clean sheets key for Big G

And McAuley praises Clarke's start at Albion helm

GARETH McAuley believes Albion can better last season’s defensive record of ten Barclays Premier League clean sheets. 

The Baggies sealed their second shut-out in the first three games of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Everton at The Hawthorns.   

The 31-year-old defender headed the second goal against the Toffees.

But he was more pleased with the blank at the other end and hopes his partnership with Jonas Olsson at the heart of Albion’s defence will continue to develop as Steve Clarke’s men look to at least match last term's benchmark. 

"We got ten clean sheets last season and that is the minimum we expect of ourselves this year,” said McAuley.

“Jonas is massive for us and we hit it off with the partnership straight away.

"We developed that last season and we're looking to make it even better again.

“It is great but we have done a lot of hard work pre-season, a lot of new ideas, and we are developing that still, as we were during the week.

“Things have been going well and hopefully that can continue and we can all develop together.

“I'll take the goal but I'm happier with the clean sheet.”

McAuley believes head coach Steve Clarke has settled in well at The Hawthorns since joining the club nearly three months ago.

“We were confident Albion would appoint the right guy - a tracksuit manager who goes out and works with the players every day, develops players, keeps things going, very much hands-on, and that is what the gaffer and his team are," he said.

“He has got different ideas, and we do things in different ways to before, but it has been really enjoyable. 

“He's been around, he's been a No.2 for a lot of years and has a lot of experience especially at a very high level.

“He knows when things have to be said and when they don’t and it's been a pleasure working with him so far.

“We had a tough pre-season but we get the rewards for that during the season.

“It has been different but it has been enjoyable.”