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Clarke unfazed by another defeat

By Football News



West Brom manager Steve Clarke refused to press the panic button despite his side falling to their second defeat in a week.

Clarke's side had only lost to Manchester City at home this season, but a resolute performance from Stoke at the Hawthorns on Saturday stifled the home team and they barely tested the palms of Potters keeper Asmir Begovic.

Clarke made six changes from the side beaten at Swansea in midweek but he projected an air of calm as the team dropped to fifth place in the Premier League table, and he called on his players to remain positive.

"We lost two games earlier in the season and bounced back with four wins," he said.

"I'm not saying we're going to that again but we're a good team, we're in a good place, we've worked hard to have a good points total and we've got nothing to be down about.

"They (the players) should be positive going into the rest of the month.

"We're not going to get too despondent at losing two games."

In a game bereft of chances West Brom rarely got a clear sight of goal and were punished when Stoke converted their second sight of goal in the game, Dean Whitehead firing past Boaz Myhill from Michael Kightly's cross.

And Clarke admitted he knew it would be a tight game where one chance would be critical.

"It was the kind of game we thought it might be," he said.

"The two teams cancelled each other out, a game of very, very few chances.

"We spoke before that it would be a game of one chance, we spoke at half-time about it being a game of one chance and unfortunately for us the chance fell to Stoke."

For Stoke manager Tony Pulis it was an important day as they recorded their first win on the road in 17 attempts, while also extending their unbeaten run to five games and recording their third straight victory.

"That's one of the monkey's off our back really," he admitted.

"We've had four draws away from home this season and in those four games we could've easily won a couple and it hasn't fallen for us.

"It's always nice to get your the first win and (we're) very, very pleased."

Pulis was delighted that the preparation they had done in anticipation of this game had paid off, but refused to call himself a tactical genius after seeing two of his subs come off the bench to win the game for a second successive match.

"We'd watched West Brom, and one thing we wanted to do is to make sure we never got stretched, and I thought we did that well," he said.

"Kenwyne's (Jones) done smashing to get there (for the goal), and then Kights (Kightly) has and Deano (Whitehead) has finished it well."

The victory extends Stoke's unbeaten record at the Hawthorns to six games, they have now won there on their last four visits and have not conceded a goal at the ground for over five years.