Head coach urges players to show their strength of character
STEVE Clarke has called on his players to show their strength of character as they bid to get back to winning ways at a ground that produced one of their most memorable victories last season.
The Baggies head to Anfield on Monday some ten months since Peter Odemwingie’s solitary strike earned them their first success at the Merseyside venue for 45 years.
Clarke was actually on the losing side that day, witnessing a real backs-to-the-wall performance from Albion as then-Reds boss Kenny Dalglish’s first-team coach.
The visitors stood up to be counted last April and Clarke is urging for more of the same from his current crop as they bid for their first win of 2013.
With several key men away on international duty, Albion’s preparations for Monday’s televised game cannot begin in earnest until tomorrow.
But when asked by reporters if the elongated wait for the next Barclays Premier League fixture would give him chance to switch off, Clarke retorted: “I can’t relax as we’re on a bad run – we’re not winning games.
“Earlier in the season, it was nice and easy – everybody wanted to say nice things about you.
“Now, it’s a difficult time for us.
“Unfortunately, instead of having a week or a few days to work with the players before the next game, the vast majority are away on international duty.
“So, we’ve been having a couple of days to shut down and try and clear our heads.
“It’s good for the players that they can go away and do that.
“They looked a bit fresher on Sunday. They were lively and on the front foot from the start of the game.
“I’m not worried about that side of it and we’ll be fresh enough and ready for the next game.
“Monday will be a difficult game but I know, because I was on the opposite side last season, that West Bromwich Albion are capable of going to Anfield and getting a positive result.”
Clarke has no doubts his troops have the wherewithal to turn things around.
“You saw we had strong characters out on the pitch in the second half against Tottenham,” he added.
“Everyone that was out there gave 100 per cent for themselves, their team-mates and the football club – and that’s what’s important going forward.”