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Jan 21, 2013

Clarke's tirade key to Albion draw

West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster has revealed he saw a different side to head coach Steve Clarke as his side salvaged a point against neighbours Aston Villa on Saturday.

• Blog: Baggies show spirit in draw

Foster, 29, admitted that the normally mild-mannered Clarke laid into his players at the interval after their sluggishness allowed Villa to race into a comfortable 2-0 lead.

"We never got started," he said. "The gaffer gave us a bit at half-time in the changing room which was fair enough because nobody seemed to be at it.

"We came out second half, the fans got behind us and we were all over them. We scored one and it went from there. We deserved at least a draw.

"The first half was not like us. We are normally at it all the time but they were much better than us. They could have scored three or four.

"There haven't been many times when the gaffer has been like that. He's not like that normally. He's one of the calmer managers and I think the lads do appreciate that. But there are times when you do need to be given a bit and he did. He gave us more than a bit.

"He's not a crazy manager. He's not a screamer and shouter but he just said: 'It's a local derby for God's sake, try and do something for your fans'. And we did."

As much as Foster believes Albion were second best in the first half, though, he thinks they exploited a weakness in the Villa camp that could be a factor as Paul Lambert's side fight to avoid relegation.

"In the first half, we were getting absolutely run over," he said. "They were very good. They were playing some very attacking football.

"But they take a few risks which does leave them open at the back. They put every player virtually on to one side of the pitch and if you get the ball back off them, you can hit them into the spaces.

"That was part of the message. It was something everybody understood."

Foster, meanwhile, has echoed Clarke's wish that Graham Dorrans might change his mind over seeking a transfer from The Hawthorns.

The Scottish midfielder had become significantly frustrated at his lack of a consistent first-team run and requested a move this month.

He has since become much more of a regular, though, after Albion received a double blow in the middle of the park, with Youssouf Mulumbu away at the African Cup of Nations and Claudio Yacob - just back from a month and a half out with a hamstring problem - departing early on Saturday due to a shoulder injury.

"Everyone wants him (Graham) to stay," Foster said. "You just look at him in training...he's so silky smooth, a proper footballer.

"Every one of the lads wants him to stay, I am sure the gaffer wants him to as well. That's maybe why he has started the last few games.

"Hopefully if he does get a run of games, it might persuade him to stay and change his mind. It's up to him. He's from up north and if he is not settled, it's fair dos.

"We can't afford to let anybody go, we are struggling. We have had so many injuries that we've only had 13 or 14 training at times."

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