Club News

Clarke: We deserved something

Boss felt defeat by Gunners was harsh on his men after late charge

STEVE Clarke felt his side deserved at least a point from the game after suffering a 2-1 defeat by Champions League-chasing Arsenal at The Hawthorns.

Tomas Rosicky opened the scoring for the Gunners on 20 minutes in a first half of few chances for either side – and doubled his tally and the visitors’ lead five minutes after the break.

Sandwiched in between Albion saw a good a shout for a penalty turned down by referee Howard Webb in the 34th minute when Laurent Koscielny upended Claudio Yacob on the edge of the area.

But the game took a dramatic twist in the 71st minute as the North London outfit were reduced to ten men when Per Mertesacker was sent-off for clattering Shane Long in the penalty box.

James Morrison stepped up to slot home the spot-kick and the Baggies piled on the pressure in the final stages in search of an equaliser, with Romelu Lukaku, Long and Gareth McAuley all  going close.

“We played well today,” said Clarke.

“They scored with one of the very few chances they created in the first half.

“We didn’t really create enough in the first half but could have had a penalty if you look at the challenge on Claudio Yacob on the edge of the box.

“On another day it’s a penalty and that would have changed the whole complexion of the game.

“It was disappointing to lose the second goal.

“The start of the second half was crucial for us to get back in it.

“We gave away another soft goal.

“It was a bad goal to lose and at 2-0 it’s difficult to get back into the game.

“We made a couple of changes and had a go.

“The penalty and the red card changed it and gave us a chance to get something from the game.”

And the Albion boss insisted the level of performance showed there is no danger of his eighth-placed players allowing the season to fade out in the remaining games despite suffering another loss on the back of last weekend’s 3-1 Upton Park reverse.

“If you’d have asked me that after West Ham I’d have said yes we’re in danger of letting things fade,” Clarke added.

“But we were good today and we were playing against a team that is challenging to finish in the top four.

“They want to be a Champions League team.

“I think the performance today was one that deserved to get something from the game.

“I don’t think you can say we took it easy today or we didn’t show a determination to get something from the game.

“At 2-0 down it would have been easy to switch off but we didn’t.

“We kept going and tried to get back in it, and we created a number of really good chances that fell to people who normally score them.

“On another day we could be sitting here talking about a good comeback from 2-0 down.

“I can’t guarantee results but I can guarantee every in every game between now and the end of the season the team will have a go.

“We’ll try and reach the next target we’ve set, which is 50 points.

“It would be nice to get at least one more league win here at home out of the three we’ve got left because that then gives us a record here for the number of Premier League home wins.

“We’ve got plenty to keep ourselves occupied and keep ourselves ambitious about.”