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Striker Long lauds Clarke

12 September 2012 08:57

West Bromwich Albion striker Shane Long has praised new manager Steve Clarke's start at the Premier League side.

While fans may have feared for the club's fortunes after the loss of previous manager Roy Hodgson to the England job, Clarke, 49, has navigated West Brom to seven points from a possible nine against Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton - and Long is impressed.

"(Clarke) has come in and stamped his own style of football on us. It's fairly instant what he's done with us, and long may it continue. It's there for the world to see how much quality he's got," he told Goal.com.

"He's been at the top clubs in English football as a coach, and the obvious next step was to go into that managers' role. He's coached with the big managers like (Jose) Mourinho and he's obviously listened, learned and stuck it into his own role as a manager."

Long also revealed hard work on the training ground and self-belief are the keys to the Baggies' impressive start.

This confidence, the striker insists, has resulted in West Brom pushing teams when previously they may have been more tactically cautious.

"There were a lot of long days in pre-season, lots of passing drills, a lot of coaching of how he wants us to play," he said.

"It's been about getting belief in ourselves on the ball, and passing it into tight situations with the confidence that we'd be able to hold on to it and come out the other side.

"Against Liverpool we dominated the whole game. When they went down to 10 men, it would've been very easy to sit behind the ball and take the 1-0, but we kicked on and really controlled the game and got a 3-0 win."

And Long suggests this new style has done away with the image of West Brom as a 'small' club.

"I think that died out a few years ago - the year before last we finished 11th and last year we finished 10th.

"We had a few bad stints when we didn't get the results we probably deserved and it overshadowed our performances, but we've put in the performances this year. We've been getting the goals, getting the wins, and seven points from the three games is a pretty good return.

"These are good times for West Brom at the moment."

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Saturday 27 December

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Thursday 25 December

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
13 18 -11 20
14 18 -11 19
15 18 -8 17
16 18 -13 17
17 18 -7 16

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