West Brom manager Steve Clarke demands response after Swansea defeat

Excellent run comes to abrupt end in south Wales

West Brom manager Steve Clarke expects a response from his side after seeing them taken apart by Swansea.

The high-flying Baggies were grounded by a superb first-half display from the Swans as a strike from Michu and a Wayne Routledge double gave them a 3-0 lead.

Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back in first-half stoppage time for the visitors but that was as good as it got for Clarke's side.

Albion have been the Premier League's surprise package so far this season, and a run of four wins had moved them above Chelsea into third place before their dismantling in south Wales.

Former Liverpool and Chelsea coach Clarke admitted his side's poor display had caught him off-guard, but hopes an improved, battling second half at the Liberty Stadium will pave the way for them to get back on track against Stoke on Saturday.

"If we had got it to 3-2 it may have been different but we didn't and I can sit here and say we deserved to lose," said the Scot.

"The players put themselves in a hole and in the second half I challenged them to get out of the situation and to be fair they did that.

"We had a chat about what we did wrong, and what we needed to do better and they did do better."

Clarke, who expects to have Zoltan Gera and Steven Reid available against the Potters, insisted over-confidence had not played a part in the Baggies defeat.

"The players know, and our fans are knowledgeable enough to know, it is a tough league and you will have days like this and I am looking forward to Saturday to see a response.

"Of course we want to bounce back, we didn't play well in the first 45 minutes but we responded at half-time, that is football - some games you win, some you lose - but we move on."

Michael Laudrup's Swans are now up to eighth in the table and have lost just one of their last nine games in all competitions.

The Dane's decision to field Nathan Dyer, Routledge and Pablo Hernandez in the same starting XI for the first time paid off handsomely as the trio's pace, guile and movement tormented the visitors.

Laudrup is unsure whether his side can replicate the level of performance shown in the opening 45 minutes, but is glad they can head to face Arsenal on Saturday with the pressure off.

"I don't know if it is possible to repeat the first half performance but at least we know we can do better than our best and it pleases me a lot.

"We are doing these things in training day in day out so it is not something that just happens, but to play at that level for 45 minutes, everyone has to be at their best and that is not always possible. But it's nice to see what we can do.

"It is a different game on Saturday, we go up against a very good side with great players who play very well with the ball.

"But it is good for us, there is no pressure on us at all, we go there as underdogs and everyone will expect Arsenal to win, but we go there with four points this week against Liverpool and West Brom so we can go there with confidence."

PA

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