Club News

Downing calls for 'Old Trafford' spirit

And joint-No.2 says Clarke is his own man as he prepares to face Mourinho

KEITH Downing is hoping the players can rediscover their Old Trafford spirit in the face of an expected Chelsea backlash on Saturday (ko 3pm).

The Baggies will head to West London looking for their first-ever Barclays Premier League point at Stamford Bridge at the eighth attempt.

But in order for that to happen, Downing has warned there can be no repeat of the two early goals they conceded in the opening 17 minutes of their 4-1 defeat at Liverpool last time out on their travels.

And the Albion joint-assistant head coach insists the type of determination they showed in beating Manchester United on their own patch in September will be needed against Jose Mourinho’s men, who will be eager to get their title challenge back on track after losing 2-0 at Newcastle last weekend.

“We haven't got a good record there," he said.

“We're getting narrower and narrower - we had a 6-0 drubbing there once, then a 2-1 defeat and a 1-0, so we're getting closer. 

“It's always a tough place to go. 

“We need to stay in the game for a long period, which is something we didn't do at Liverpool. 

“Being two down after 20 minutes doesn't give you a good platform to go on in the game. 

“We will make sure we will be in the game like we were at Manchester United.

“I'm sure there will be a backlash from the Chelsea players following Jose Mourinho's comments. 

“He sets his teams out and was obviously very disappointed at Newcastle. 

“I can see a big difference coming this Saturday and we have to very much be aware of that.”

The game will see Steve Clarke go toe-to-toe with Mourinho on the touchline for the first time since the Baggies boss was assistant to the ‘Special One’ in his first spell as Chelsea chief.

But Downing says Clarke is treating it like any other game and revealed, while he learnt from Mourinho, the Scot has his own way of doing things.

He added: “They were working colleagues and there is no 'trying to get one over on him' - I think Steve will treat it as another game and prepare the best we can, as we always do every week. 

“We'll watch videos and over two to three days plot a course to see if we can get a result.

“He doesn't throw it in your face that he worked with Mourinho.

“The structure and organisation he's got from him, yes, and the ideas too.  

“But Steve had to implement things after Roy [Hodgson]. 

“No disrespect, but he doesn't have the players here he had at Liverpool or Chelsea, so you adjust accordingly. 

“He doesn't come in every day and say 'Mourinho did this', or 'Mourinho did that', he's his own man.”