Steve Clarke still focused on 40-point mark despite victory over Liverpool
West Brom shocked Liverpool at Anfield last night
Tuesday 12 February 2013
West Brom manager Steve Clarke insists their focus does not yet extend beyond securing top-flight survival despite victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
Late goals from Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku - after a string of saves from goalkeeper Ben Foster, including a Steven Gerrard penalty, had kept them in it - saw the Baggies leapfrog their opponents into eighth.
But while Liverpool still hold out an increasingly fading hope of a top-four finish Clarke has only one objective on his mind - for now at least.
"We have never spoken about European competition. I said from the start '40 points, first target' and we are almost there," said the Scot.
"To be honest I thought we'd be beyond the 40-point mark by now and we would've had a few games left to attack the rest of the season.
"We need one more win to get 40 points and we have 12 games left.
"Hopefully we will get it quickly and then we'll see where we end up at the end of the season.
"We can only look from game to game. No-one was talking about European ambition before this game, everyone was looking at the teams below us and thinking where we were getting our next win from."
Victory ended a run of one point from six matches and was their first in the league since Boxing Day, ensuring they did a top-flight double over the Reds for the first time since the 1966-67 season.
"I thought we played well in the game and deserved to get the three points," added Clarke.
"For me, at this moment in time, Liverpool are playing as well as anyone in the league so to come here and get that result with the performance as well I don't think you can say we were lucky because we weren't.
"When you come to a place like Anfield they have got players who create chances so you know that at some stage your goalkeeper is going to have to make some saves.
"Unfortunately because of the referee he had to make an extra save - I am assured the penalty was harsh but I haven't seen it - but that was important for us as well.
"When he made that save from a penalty that should never have been given it gave us that positive belief and momentum to go and win the game."
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers did not attend the post-match press conference, opting only to fulfil his obligations to broadcasters covering the game.
"It was one of those games we couldn't get the breakthrough," he said.
"The longer it goes on it gives the opposition more encouragement.
"It's a big disappointment because we had two home games this week (the other is his former club Swansea on Sunday) that we felt were opportunities for us.
"But we'll go again and get back in tomorrow. We've got a game away in the Europa League (against Zenit St Petersburg) which we'll be ready for on Thursday and then come back, get ready and go again at the weekend."
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