Saturday’s hugely impressive victory over Sunderland elevated West Brom up in to the top four of the Premier League but manager Steve Clarke is adamant that he is not starting to think about European football just yet.
Clarke, who tasted Champions league football during his time as assistant manager at Chelsea, knows that his team have exceeded Premier league predictions so far this season and he knows that there is a long way to go before the Hawthorns is hosting Europe’s elite.
“Can we think of the Champions League? I don’t look that far ahead, I look from game to game,” said Clarke. “It is a great time to be at the club and if the supporters want to dream a bit, they can. But within the camp, we will keep our feet on the ground” he added.
West Brom have advanced quietly up the Barclays premier league table this season, with much of the media hype and expectation focussing on fellow high flyers, Everton, but the secret to their success is clear.
Similarly to David Moyes at Everton, Steve Clarke has built a solid squad with a good work ethic who play for each other and are committed in both attack and defence. Clarke himself is well aware of the strengths of his team; “We are a team and a good group. Anybody you put in can go in and do a good job for the team” he said of the side that have won their last three games.
With several teams with deeper pockets and larger squads in hot pursuit it seems unlikely that West Brom will continue this run of form long enough to secure a Champions League place. If, however, they can come out of the Christmas period in decent shape and without picking up too many injuries then a Europa League spot could certainly be in their sights.