Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Clarke convinced by selection policy

Steve Clarke will not waver from his squad rotation policy

West Brom boss Steve Clarke has defended his decision to rotate his players and claims the policy is only coming under the microscope because of a current dip in fortunes.

Clarke has not been afraid to chop and change his line-ups since replacing Roy Hodgson as head coach during the summer as Albion climbed to third spot in the Barclays Premier League last month. But three straight defeats has seen the Baggles slip back.

Clarke, whose side entertain West Ham on Sunday, said: "The changes I've made only come up now as a topic because we are on the back of three defeats in a row. Since the start of the season I've continually made changes to the side."

He added: "I've tweaked it as to how I feel it should be done from game to game. I'll continue to do that.

"I've got a squad of players I have to utilise and so far this season, I've utilised them quite well. But that's not credit to me, that's credit to the players who have come into the team."

Clarke prefers to look at the overall picture with Albion lying sixth heading into the weekend fixtures and he was named Barclays manager of the month for November after securing four wins in a row.

He said: "It is a good record and we should be pleased with it. I think most Albion fans would have settled for the current position in mid-December.

"It is three defeats in a row, we don't hide from that, but I try to be realistic, the players are and so are the fans.

"They know that up until now it has been a good season. You can spread the defeats out or bunch them altogether. It doesn't matter. It's the points on the board, the position in the table, that is what is important.

"We haven't lost any self belief about what we are trying to do. We know it's a difficult time coming up with a lot of games. The seven or eight games between now and January will define if we are going to have a good season or a really good season."

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