And Clarke full of praise for goalscorer Amalfitano and battler Anichebe
STEVE Clarke admitted super-sub Saido Berahino delivered exactly the message he wanted as the young striker answered his Old Trafford SOS call.
The 13th minute proved lucky for the Albion Academy product as the Baggies boss opted for him over a number of senior alternatives on the bench to replace the injured Scott Sinclair.
And it had the desired effect as Berahino took the game to United time after time before bagging the winner 23 minutes from the end.
“Saido deserves his place in the team,” said Clarke.
“He's got goals in him.
“At that stage, I thought we were playing well and I wanted to stay positive.
“I didn’t want to send a negative message to the players by bringing a more defensive-minded player.
“I wanted to bring on another attacker and, fortunately, this week it worked out.”
Berahino’s goal gave the Baggies their first win on United soil since December 1978.
And Clarke reckons it was a fitting tribute to two-goal scorer that day, Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown, who was watching from the press box at Old Trafford on the 50th anniversary of his Albion debut - as well as a nice 70th birthday present for fellow club legend Bobby Hope.
“It was a fitting little tribute to Bomber Brown,” added Clarke.
“Somebody told me it was Bobby Hope's birthday.
“Bobby hasn't been too well so hopefully that will cheer him up a little bit.”
Just before the break, Victor Anichebe also looked to be struggling with an injury.
But the former Everton man re-emerged for the second half and played a pivotal role in the victory.
Clarke said: “Victor - if you watch him - that can be his style.
“He can look like he’s labouring a bit and then the ball’s there and he’s chasing.
“He did what we asked him to do - he's big, strong, and gave the two central defenders a tough afternoon.
“When we get the ball into him he holds it up well and that allows the team to come forward.
“It was an important contribution.”
The Albion chief also praised French ace Morgan Amalfitano, who capped a second successive man-of-the-match performance with an early goal-of-the-season contender.
“His English is okay,” added Clarke.
“I think he understands more than he lets on!
“When he’s done really well he always understands what you say, and when he hasn’t done well, he doesn’t understand!
“He’s lively and has the flair to create going forward but he also does his defensive job for the team very well.”