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Clarke: We'll be even better

West Brom boss Steve Clarke is confident his side can emulate their success of last season and has no fears of the so-called second season syndrome.

Last Updated: 17/08/13 at 14:15 Post Comment

Steve Clarke: Confident of a strong start

Steve Clarke: Confident of a strong start

In his first season in charge, Clarke led West Brom to eighth in the Premier League last term - their best-ever Premier League finish.

The former Chelsea assistant, who is in his first managerial post, will have his work cut out to repeat that feat this season, especially given that striker Romelu Lukaku - scorer of 17 goals for them while on loan from Chelsea last season, but now back with his parent club - is not at their disposal.

But the 49-year-old is optimistic they can maintain last season's form, starting with opening league clash with Southampton at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

"I'm not sure I understand second season syndrome - it is another phrase the media uses," Clarke said. "For me, this is about trying to emulate what we did last season - to be a team that is positive and tries to win football matches.

"The more we can win the more points we will get and with that follows the success for the club. That is all you can do.

"I don't sit here and worry about the fact it is the second season.

"I have learned some lessons from last year and hopefully I can put them into practice this year and you'll see a better and stronger West Bromwich Albion."

Clarke's new additions this summer are strikers Nicolas Anelka and Matej Vydra and defender Diego Lugano, and he hopes to bring in two or three more players, including Manchester City winger Scott Sinclair.

Asked about specific league targets, Clarke said: "I think it is always dangerous to set targets too early.

"The first target is to try to win on Saturday. I know it is boring, but that is the only way it can be."

Last term, West Brom began by defeating Liverpool 3-0 at home, the first of 10 victories in their opening 19 league fixtures - which were followed by only four in their final 19.

Clarke has stressed that while he is keen for another good start this time out, a bad one should not necessarily be viewed as a disaster, given it is only the points tally at the end of the season that really matters.

"If you win your first few games, it's great - you can push on from there," said Clarke, whose side's two league fixtures after Southampton see them face Everton away and Swansea at home.

"But it is not always possible to do that. So as I said last season - it doesn't matter when you get your points. The only thing that is important in a Premier League season is that you do get your points.

"We will be trying as hard as we can to win our first three games before the next international break and if we can do that, it sets us up for a good season.

"But if we can't do it, it doesn't mean to say you are going to have a bad season, because there are so many games still to be played."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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