Odemwingie credits Clarke for improvement

Two-goal hero Peter Odemwingie hailed the impact of new West Brom manager Steve Clarke and believes their current top-five spot in the Barclays Premier League is no fluke.

Football News: Peter Odemwingie of West Brom

Albion climbed four places after Odemwingie's brace earned a 2-0 win over bottom placed Southampton at the Hawthorns last night.

It enabled them to bounce back from the heartbreak of successive injury-time defeats to champions Manchester City and Newcastle.

Odemwingie credits Clarke, who replaced England head coach Roy Hodgson in the summer, for bringing about an improvement in the performance of the players after two mid-table finishes.

The Nigerian international said: "We were saying in the dressing room after the Southampton game that even one point from the previous two games, when we lost so late on, would have put us fourth.

"The expectations from our fans are high and after losing against the champions (Manchester City), being so disappointed as a team for us means we are getting better and the ambition is there.

"It is a big plus for us so it's a challenge and the better the results we get, the more confidence grows.

"We are showing a very good quality of football as well so that is where the expectations are coming from because we've been getting results against very good sides."

Odemwingie, Albion's top scorer for the past two campaigns, can see an improvement in the quality of the players and gives Clarke the credit.

He said: "We are improving as players individually which is very important. I can see that.

"It is so obvious many players have improved and the manager deserves a lot of credit for that.

"His goal this season was to increase the number of passes we make and that makes you enjoy the game more and brings more excitement.

"We create so many chances and those things are also very encouraging."

Odemwingie knows West Brom face a tough task to maintain their current lofty status but feels it is not an insurmountable challenge.

He said: "We need to consider also there is a bit of instability (up and down results) amongst the other teams under the top four so that is the hope.

"The weekend results helped us to bridge the gap that was there (in the table) and if we keep playing like this, and the rest of the teams outside the top four are still unstable......you never know.

"We will be surprised to finish in the top six or seven but I don't think we will say it is a mistake if we keep playing like we have for the past two months."

Former Liverpool and Chelsea number two Clarke is determined Albion, who visit Wigan at the weekend, will not get carried away with their current success.

He said: "It is too early in the season. We don't get carried away. We've a good group of players who have proved in the last two seasons that they don't get involved in the relegation dogfight.

"They've finished comfortable in mid-table and we are trying to build on that.

"But the first target as always is to make sure you are comfortable in the league and that's what we are striving to do at the moment."



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