And boss gives his verdict on Long penalty appeal
STEVE Clarke insists only hard work can end Albion’s current losing streak – insisting: “There’s no magic wand.”
The Baggies suffered their fourth successive defeat as Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham fired the only goal of the game 21 minutes into the second half in a close encounter down in South Wales.
And the result saw them slip a place to 16th in the Barclays Premier League table – but remain two points above the bottom three ahead of next Saturday’s home clash with Hull (ko 3pm).
“The game I thought was quite an even game,” said Clarke.
“I don’t think there was much in it.
“It was a game where the first goal was always going to be quite crucial.
“Unfortunately for us it went to Cardiff.
“It went to Cardiff in a moment where it didn’t look as if either team were going to score.
“It looked as if it could head towards 0-0.
“The reaction was good and we created some chances, as we normally do.
“At the moment things are not quite going for us.
“I don’t think it’s down to lack of confidence.
“You can see the team plays with confidence.
“We tried to pass the ball when we could.
“Cardiff started the game really sharp and bright, and put us on the back foot
“But we resisted, stayed in the game, and the longer the game went the more we played and the more chances we created."
He added: “At the moment it’s difficult for us.
“We just need to work as hard as we can.
“You hope you get a lucky break or you hope somebody does something fantastic.
“One individual moment can change the run of games.
“There is no magic formula, no magic wand.
“It’s difficult for the players and all we can do is try and break the run as quickly as possible – starting with Hull next weekend.”
Referee Howard Webb turned down Albion appeals for a penalty on 70 when Ben Turner challenged Shane Long in the box.
Clarke had no complaints with the decision but felt it was typical of the way things are going for his team at the moment.
“Shane said in the dressing room he thought it was a penalty,” the Albion chief revealed.
“But Howard Webb didn’t think it was a penalty.
“What else can I do but accept it.
“I can rant and rave, criticise referees, but that’s not my style.”
Clarke also explained the absence of strike duo Victor Anichebe and Nicolas Anelka, who both missed the Cardiff City Stadium clash due to illness.