Clarke hopes he's proving doubters wrong
Steve Clarke hopes West Brom's excellent start to the season is silencing the doubters who believed he should never have decided to move into management.
Clarke said there was huge pressure on him when, four months ago - and after more than ten years as an assistant manager to Jose Mourinho, Gianfranco Zola and Kenny Dalglish - he took the top job at the Hawthorns.
His appointment as Roy Hodgson's successor was greeted with some scepticism but, after his first eight games brought 14 points and sixth place in the Premier League, Clarke can reflect on an impressive introduction to management.
"It was really important I had a good start because there were people who would be saying: 'Look at Steve Clarke, he's the perennial No2,'" he explained.
"It was important for me to have a good start, but also important for the club because it showed the appointment wasn't as crazy as it seemed at the time."
Some critics had suggested that Clarke lacked the ambition to take a No.1 job because of his willingness to work as an assistant.
He said: "People were always going to ask questions, but I always felt confident in my abilities.
"There was also an ambition for me to be the man who made the decisions. It was an incredible summer for me in that respect. It's something I've worked for since I was a coach.
"I enjoyed the role as No.2 to some great managers but you think: 'OK, let's see if I'm as good as I want to be.' You try to take something from these people. You try to take their characters and show what you can do."