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Clarke looking up after slump

West Brom manager Steve Clarke admits his focus for the remainder of the season is simply on finishing as high up the Premier League table as possible.

Last Updated: 16/03/13 at 14:07 Post Comment

Steve Clarke: West Brom manager remains puzzled by January slump

Steve Clarke: West Brom manager remains puzzled by January slump

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Albion are currently eighth in the table on 43 points - just four adrift of fifth-placed Arsenal - but Clarke believes they have blown their chances of European football next season after failing to win a game in January.

Clarke, whose team travel to Stoke on Saturday, said: "The closer you are to the top of the table, people look at it and think 'West Brom finished such-and-such in the table, they're in the top half, they must be a good team and have possibilities to improve again'.

"That's what you always look to do. You want to improve every year and certainly I want us to be a better team next season. If finishing high up the table attracts better players then obviously we want to finish as high as we can."

Looking back to the Baggies' mid-season slump, Clarke added: "Within the team everybody dropped towards the end of December and in January for some reason. It's something we're still looking at and assessing to find out why.

"I'm trying to forget about January for now. I've got the medical staff looking at it now to see if they can dig anything up. I've got the fitness coach seeing if he can pick up anything from the data that month, just to see if there's anything we can tie it down to. We'll try to address it next season.

"We'll find out how good all these university graduates are and see if they can find the pattern for me.

"I've already got an ambition for next season and that's to win a game in January!"

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A

nd we always will love Ozil. I don't really mind if no other team can see just how brilliant he is, or if people think he is rubbish, because we know he is far from it. He is a fantastic player, and if people cannot see that it can only be a good thing, in that he will be at Arsenal for years to come, pulling the strings from behind a glass veil.

ganachus
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

I

like the list and Ozil in particular does seem under appreciated when you look at his stats (an odd thing considering his fee or maybe because of it). Palace have a few and I've always thought Dwight Gayle at Palace was under rated, certainly when you look at his goals per game ratio. You can probably also add Ryan Bertrand at Saints who should be in the England team in my view.

sensiblepoolfan
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

N

ew Shaun Wright Phillips, there I've said it. If any club offers stupid money we'd be stupid to say no, he's not a potential worldie by any stretch and I feel that after a few years warming the bench at city or Chelsea he'll be back at QPR smoking sheesha pipes under Harry Redknapp.

uncle monty
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