Boss hails players and urges them to make historic Old Trafford win the norm
STEVE Clarke hailed his courageous players after they ended almost 35 years of hurt at Manchester United with a stunning 2-1 win – and insisted: “We were tremendous.”
Summer loan signing Morgan Amalfitano opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games as he lit up Old Trafford with a superb solo effort in the 54th minute.
It looked like it was going to be the same old story when Wayne Rooney levelled for the champions within three minutes.
But the Baggies refused to go into their shell in front of more than 75,000 fans.
And the Theatre of Dreams lived up to its name on 67 when Saido Berahino fired the winner – his first-ever Barclays Premier League strike.
Clarke was also quick to point out the victory was not gifted to them and came about because of how well his side played - a fact illustrated by the United supporters applauding the Albion players off the pitch at the final whistle.
“Everyone who was listening to me before the game will know that I said I was going to Old Trafford to be positive, to try to play,” he said.
“Thankfully my players were listening as well because they did that.
“I thought we were tremendous from start to finish.
“We did everything almost perfectly and I think you have to when you come to a place like Old Trafford.
“When you play the reigning champions you have to play an almost perfect game – and I think we did that.
“We could have had a few more goals.
“We created a lot, we looked dangerous, we passed the ball around well and all I can do is praise the players.
“I thought defensively we were strong, we created in midfield, we passed the ball well and we looked a threat every time we went forward.”
And Clarke was delighted with the quality of the goals as well as his team’s football as they extended their unbeaten run on the road this term to three games.
“We scored good goals,” he added.
“Morgan’s was an individual effort and he showed good composure and a fantastic finish with his goal.
“And the second was a good team goal to back it up.
“Sometimes when you've been so good in the game and you’re disappointed to concede the way we conceded - it was a soft free-kick against us and I'm not sure it was a free-kick either - a lesser team might play for a point but we didn't and we created more chances.
“We deserved to win.”
The Albion chief insists he will not let his players get carried away by the historic result.
But he insists he wants scorelines like today’s to become the norm for the Baggies in the top flight.
“It’s not about conquering the fear factor,” he said.
“For me the biggest thing is that we are trying to grow as a club and a team – and we are.
“We’ve been in the Premier League for a number of years and we’re trying to change the mindset.
“In the past Albion have always been capable of coming to these places, and defending doggedly for 90 minutes and trying to nick the win or draw.
“I wanted to change that mindset so we come to these places and try to win the game.
“So, I wasn’t surprised how well we kept the ball when they equalised.
“We brought a number of good players into the club on transfer deadline day and slowly, slowly we’ve been starting to build towards this.
“We still have a lot of work to do.
“We didn't get too depressed with our start to the season – we threw away six points at home, which is always disappointing.
“And we won't get carried away with this - but back-to-back wins in the Premier League is difficult, so to beat Sunderland last week and get three points here is pleasing.
“It repairs some of the damage from the first weeks of the season.”