Steve Clarke cautious over high expectations at West Brom
Friday 09 November 2012
Steve Clarke believes West Brom deserve their top-five position in the Barclays Premier League but insists it would be “dangerous” to start thinking of qualifying for Europe.
The Baggies have collected 17 points from their opening 10 matches - their best Premier League start - ahead of tomorrow's clash with Wigan at the DW Stadium.
Head coach Clarke feels it is no fluke, but knows the possible pitfalls from looking too far ahead.
Clarke said: "We are there for a reason because we deserve to be there. The games we've played, we've accumulated a good number of points.
"But it is a dangerous league if you look too far ahead and you take your eye off what you are trying to do at any given time.
"If you do that, it is a league in which you can easily lose three or four games in a row and we have to be careful of that. We have to keep our focus on what we are trying to do which is picking up points from game to game.
"People ask about Europe but it is too early for that. Like I said, it is a dangerous league. If we hadn't won the other night against Southampton, we would be stuck in mid-table.
"One game took us from ninth to fifth. It is tight in the middle of the table."
Clarke added: "I think the mentality outside the football club will change, the expectation level.
"But we know within the club what we are trying to do, where we are trying to get to.
"The players are very level-headed, they know the objectives and how to get towards those objectives, and the first one is to make sure we are safe."
Former Chelsea and Liverpool number two Clarke is also prepared if Albion's season suffers a dip in fortunes.
He said: "I'm ready for it. I'm not expecting it but I would be ready for it. I've got plenty of experience. I've been at clubs which have been on bad runs before.
"I know what it is about, I know how to handle it, but I'm not expecting it."
Clarke believes Latics boss Roberto Martinez is a "pioneer" with the way he encourages and sets his teams up to play.
He said: "In the last few games Wigan have got back to where they were towards the end of last season when they were the best team in the league.
"Is Martinez is a pioneer? I think there has been a general shift in the way the coaches are trying to get their teams to play.
"Maybe in the Premier League, Roberto was one of those who set his team up to play slightly different, to try and get your team to play football no matter what the pressure.
"If you want to have him down as pioneer, you probably could.
"We will go there expecting a difficult game but I'm sure Wigan are expecting a difficult game as well."
Clarke concedes he already has "half an eye" on the January transfer window, particularly as striker Peter Odemwingie and midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu will be on African Nations Cup duty.
He said: "We know one or possibly two of the squad could leave us in January to go in the African Nations Cup which is something we will deal with at the time.
"We've got 10 games to play before then but we have got half an eye on the January window.
"But if I keep the same squad over the course of the season, I'll be happy."
Latest in Sport
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
Gareth Bale to Chelsea: Real Madrid to be 'tempted by £75m offer' this summer
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
Malaysia Grand Prix 2015 LIVE: Sebastian Vettel wins in just his second race with Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton second and Nico Rosberg third
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew