Clarke staying grounded

  • Last Updated: November 18 2012, 13:16 GMT

Steve Clarke believes West Brom are currently "in the right position to think about Europe" but refuses to get carried away with the Baggies best ever start to a Barclays Premier League campaign.

Steve Clarke: Leaving thoughts of Europe to the fans

Albion climbed into fourth spot after Saturday's 2-1 home success over Chelsea - their sixth in seven home matches this season - thanks to goals from Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie.

Long produced an inspired performance despite the death of his grandmother 24 hours earlier while stand-in keeper Boaz Myhill produced several fine saves in the absence of Ben Foster.

Albion are showing they now have strength in depth but former Chelsea player and coach Clarke is content to let any dreams of Europe nestle with supporters and not in the dressing room.

He said: "At the moment, we are in the right position to think about Europe - but we go from game to game.

"That is boring I know, but I think this weekend we'll let the supporters dream a little bit.

"The team are certainly in a very good moment, but within the camp we'll keep our feet on the ground.

"I think people have been taking notice of us for quite a few weeks now.

"We are aware of that, they can take notice if they want, but we work from game to game."

Clarke has managed to make West Brom into more of an attacking threat since he succeeded the pragmatic Roy Hodgson who had made Albion hard to beat.

He said: "I wanted to try and make supporters go home happy at the weekend after watching a team who have played attractive football and tried to play football the right way and get positive results.

"We'll go chasing three points and, if we keep doing what we are doing, it can be a good season for us.

"We closed the gap on Chelsea and managed to put a few more points between some teams that are below us."

Long has been a revelation this season despite having to protect a hamstring problem and he displayed a 'Rest In Peace Nan' T-shirt after scoring the opening goal.

Clarke said: "I haven't got anymore words to speak about Shane. I speak about him almost every week and his performances are top class.

"He produced another fantastic performance in what has been a difficult week for him.

"He carries the team. He gives us that spirit and determination upfront and carries everyone else forward.

"He is a little bit sad. He has gone back to Ireland now for the funeral and will be away for two or three days.

"But it was a great way for him to pay his respects to his grandmother. He wanted to play."

Myhill has been kept on the sidelines by the performances of Foster but he seized his opportunity with both hands while the former England keeper recovers after a groin operation.

Clarke said: "I'm not surprised with how Boaz has done. I've watched him work in training.

"I've seen a dedicated pro who was working hard so that, when his chance came, he wouldn't let us down.

"I know he was ready for his chance. and I'm delighted he has taken it the last two games. He has been terrific.

"But I see that in a number of players in the squad and for me that's the most pleasing thing.

"I can make one or two changes every week and the performance of the team never suffers.

"I've got a squad of players here who are all committed to what we are trying to do and I think you can see that."


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