Steve Clarke has proved himself at West Brom says James Morrison

Clarke succeeded Roy Hodgson

West Brom midfielder James Morrison has hailed the impact made by head coach Steve Clarke in successfully filling Roy Hodgson's role after he left the Hawthorns to take charge of England.

Clarke faced his first senior role in management with Albion after being number two at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool.

The Scot had a hard act to follow in Hodgson, who guided Albion to a top-10 finish in the Barclays Premier League last season.

But Morrison believes he has proved already to be up to the task, with Albion lying in seventh spot after a 2-1 home win over Swansea.

Morrison, Albion's official man of the match against the Swans, said: "Look where we are. The gaffer has done fantastic.

"Roy did a fantastic job here but Steve came in, made some good signings, and also had a good group of players.

"Everyone who steps on that pitch gives 100% and that has been the key of this season.

"At the start of pre-season he said he wasn't going to change much because it didn't need changing.

"He tinkered a little bit, but that was about passing the ball a bit more and getting up the pitch a bit more. It seemed to work."

Clarke has played down Albion's chances of qualifying for Europe but Morrison, who reached the UEFA Cup final when with Middlesbrough, believes it is possible.

He said: "Can we make Europe? I think so. It depends how many points we pick up. We are not going to get carried away because it's a tough nine games to go.

"We are not used to this position, are we? We are normally looking over our shoulders in March. It feels strange. It just shows what a fantastic season the lads have had.

"I've played in Europe before and it was great. We got all the way to the final. It was great, travelling to different countries and different opposition.

"It also it hampers your season sometimes if you look at the teams in there now. But personally I would like to play in it and hopefully the club would as well."

Clarke said: "I think it's going to be difficult to get West Brom into Europe this year.

"There is only fifth position that is guaranteed a Europa League spot and for us to get that, we would have to go past Arsenal and Everton.

"To finish above those teams is going to be very difficult. I don't think at this moment that European football is a realistic opportunity for us.

"What is realistic is we can get to 50 points. I want to get to 50 because that's what I said was possible and realistic at the start of the season."

Morrison feels a line has been drawn under the Peter Odemwingie saga which resulted in a series of Twitter rants against the club and failure to complete a move to QPR in January.

The initial negative response by supporters towards the Nigeria international on his return to Albion action seems to have dissipated.

Morrison said: "I think you've got to move on. I think the fans realise Peter is going to play for the team and be a key part of it.

"All Peter can do is keep his head down and keep playing and hopefully score some goals.

"Have things been okay in the dressing room? Yes. I think as players you get used to players moving on. If Peter is doing it on the pitch, we forget about it."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor