Club News

Boss: Nico needs change in fortune

And Clarke praises midfield dynamos Yacob and Mulumbu

STEVE Clarke believes Nicolas Anelka simply needs a change in fortune to open his Albion goalscoring account.

The 34-year-old striker returned from a two-game injury absence to play 69 minutes against his former club in today’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

And he missed two golden opportunities to double the Baggies’ lead before the Gunners levelled through Jack Wilshere.

“Nicolas is an experienced striker,” said Clarke.

“He knows he was in the right position.

“The first chance actually arrived a little bit behind him, which was difficult to finish.

“The second one he did almost everything right. He opened the goal up and just put it the wrong side of the post – you’re talking inches!

“On another day he could have scored both.

“Strikers need goals and Nico is experienced enough to know if he keeps getting in those positions he’ll score goals.”

The Hawthorns boss also praised the overall defensive performance of his team against Arsene Wenger’s title challengers.

And he highlighted the important part goalscorer Claudio Yacob and Youssouf Mulumbu played in the Baggies’ engine room.

“They’ve been a key part of the team since I came here,” added Clarke.

“They’ve been a good, solid base for us in front of the back-four.

“The goalkeeper and defence were again good today – and you have to be good against Arsenal because they have clever players, who are always trying to cause you a problem.

“Defensively as a team we worked well.

“I think that’s the secret; and then you see what we have going forward.

“We have terrific attacking intent and it’s just disappointing we didn’t get the second goal when were on top in the game.”