Clarke hoping for Baggies revival
Steve Clarke feels he needs a victory against Cardiff City to halt West Bromwich Albion's slide towards the relegation zone and to ease the pressure at The Hawthorns.
Albion head coach Clarke is facing the most difficult period of his time at the Baggies since he arrived to take over from Roy Hodgson in the summer of 2012 as he looks to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Clarke and his players have been left reeling from losses to Newcastle United, Manchester City and Norwich City, which has seen them plunge to within two points of the relegation zone.
Albion chairman Jeremy Peace is believed to be increasingly frustrated at the lack of progress this season after signing Nicolas Anelka, Matej Vydra, Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon in the summer.
And Clarke knows the time has come for him and his players to stand up and be counted against Cardiff to avoid dropping into the bottom three and a winter fighting against relegation.
"We had a bad week and we have to prove that was just what it was. It’s been a difficult week but they understand things can change very quickly in football. You have to win games. It’s an industry that says you have to win," said Clarke.
Clarke has been candid in the assessment of his own position, admitting he is under scrutiny, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season, and recognising he cannot afford any more poor results before Christmas.
"Three defeats in a row, whether it comes over a three-week period or in a week, is still three defeats. All we focus on this week is making sure we get back to winning ways," he said.
"This week’s game can’t come quick enough. The boys have been chomping at the bit and are ready for the game. If you said we’re going to go to Cardiff and play terrible and win, I’d be delighted. It’s a week to get results.
"Even before the Norwich game it was a game to win and normally, since I’ve been here and it’s been a game like that, the team has always won.
"I would say that’s the first time we’ve gone into a game like that and we haven’t won. So it was a little bit of a strange feeling for us. We went into the game expecting to win and we didn’t. We look to rectify that this weekend."