Boss claims ‘poor’ defending culminated in bad day at office at West Ham
STEVE Clarke admitted Albion’s ‘poor’ defensive display culminated in a bad day at the office at West Ham.
The head coach made no excuses for the 3-1 defeat, claiming his players got what they deserved.
Andy Carroll grabbed a 16th-minute opener from a set-piece before Gary O’Neil added a fine second 12 minutes later after a swift Hammers break.
The Baggies rallied after the interval but could not find the goal that would give them a lifeline and Carroll sealed the points by volleying home his second – again from a set-piece – ten minutes from time.
Recalled Graham Dorrans bagged an 88th-minute consolation from the penalty spot but Youssouf Mulumbu compounded the visitors’ misery by being red-carded in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Clarke said he regarded the performance as a blip in an otherwise encouraging season and is demanding a reaction from his players when Arsenal visit next Saturday.
“I’ve got no complaints about the result,” he said.
“West Ham deserved to win.
“We started the game quite well and could’ve gone in front when Jaaskelainen made a good save to push Romelu’s deflected free-kick onto his post.
“There are small margins in every game and instead of being 1-0 up, a couple of minutes later we found ourselves a goal down.
“From there, it was a difficult afternoon.”
Clarke added: “Our defending was probably the most disappointing thing.
“Normally, we defend well.
“To lose two goals in the manner we did from their set-plays, and to lose a counter-attack goal from our set-play at the other end, was disappointing.
“The goals we lost today were poor.
“It’s something we have to address and we will rectify it.
“Like I said to the boys after the game, we’ve not had this feeling too many times this season.
“It’s been a decent campaign for us.
“We need to dust ourselves down and bounce back next week against Arsenal."