Popov Goran spits away West Brom's chance against Tottenham as woeful week worsens
West Brom manager Steve Clarke was scathing about his full-back's behaviour
Steve Clarke, the West Bromwich Albion manager, was scathing yesterday about the behaviour of his full-back, Goran Popov, who was sent off for spitting at Kyle Walker in the 1-0 defeat to Tottenham, that came at the end of a week the Midlands club will want to forget.
Clarke said that he had not seen another incident in the game, when defender Jonas Olsson was aaccused of having made an obscene gesture at West Brom supporters and spat in their direction. Following Peter Odemwingie's high-profile, unsanctioned trip to Queen's Park Rangers on Thursday, Clarke denied that his players were out of control.
Of Popov spitting at Walker, for which the Macedonian will receive an automatic three-match ban, Clarke said: "There is no excuse for that. There is no place for that in life, never mind on a football pitch.
"I haven't had a one-on-one discussion about it with Goran. We [the group] spoke about it after the game. I would like to think at some stage he will apologise.
"As always there will be a disciplinary procedure against him which will remain in-house."
Asked if Popov had tried to apologise after the game, Clarke said: "I haven't given him a chance. I spoke."
Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham boss, described the incident as "horrible".
Until the Popov dismissal in the 47th minute, Clarke said: "I am angry because it was a game I thought we could get a positive result from that would get us on an even keel. January wasn't a good month for us but we identified this game as a good one for us and made changes and tweaks to the team."
Asked about the Olsson incident, a subject of discussion among West Brom fans on Twitter, Clarke said that he was "here to see the football" but did not rule out the club taking action. "I have always been in control of the group of players," he said. "They know I am fair-minded but they know how far to go with me. I have no problem exerting my authority on the group."
Clarke said there was a possibility he may have to sign a free agent to give himself cover in Popov's absence, although he said that may not necessarily be Nigel Reo-Coker, with whom the club has been linked.
Odemwingie drive mocked by fans
After driving to London to force a deadline-day transfer to Queen's Park Rangers that didn't happen, the West Bromwich Albion striker, Peter Odemwingie, was mentioned in dispatches at the Hawthorns.
Tottenham supporters taunted their rivals by chanting that "he drives where he wants", while the travelling Albion fans made their feelings clear by displaying a large banner carrying the simple message: "Odemwingie out!"
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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