Club News

Clarke delighted with flexible four

And boss admits upturn in fortune has helped get Baggies back on track

STEVE Clarke has highlighted the flexibility of his midfield quartet following Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland at The Hawthorns.

Albion switched to a 4-4-2 formation from their more familiar 4-2-3-1 line-up as they followed up their 2-0 win at Liverpool with another three points. 

And the Baggies’ chief conceded it is no coincidence his side's return to winning ways correlates with the return to fitness of his key players. 

“James [Morrison], Youssouf [Mulumbu] and Claudio [Yacob] have been terrific for us any time we’ve played,” said Clarke. 

“Normally we play them as a three which we went to at one stage in the game today and we looked good when we did that again. 

“But they can also play as a conventional four with Chris Brunt giving us great balance and energy on the left side as well. 

“It is important that you’ve always got good players on the pitch and the team we started the season with proved they are a good team with good balance about them and over December, January and the early 
part of February, that team was disrupted. 

“We lost all of those players at certain times and that is difficult for any team – if any team loses their better players, they find it more difficult.”

Clarke admits the Baggies’ return to form after a six-game winless run has been coupled with an upturn in fortune.

“You look back and you look at games and try and work out why you didn’t win a game or why you dropped points in certain games,” he added. 

“I’m not saying it’s all because of luck but the fortune was with us in the earlier part of the season and in recent games we’ve had a little bit of fortune as well. 

“We had a terrible penalty given against us at Anfield and that could have gone against us - but fortunately Ben saved it.

“There was a little bit of fortune there; it was a very good save from Ben and we built on that.

“On Saturday you can look at the handball decisions in the penalty area, you can argue for and against both and maybe we got the little break that gave us the penalty and didn’t give one to Sunderland.”