IRELAND STAR Shane Long says he accepts the squad rotation policy of West Brom manager Steve Clarke.
The 26-year-old was high on confidence after he managed a run of four goals in four games, for Ireland and West Brom, in recent weeks. But after he failed to score in successive defeats for the Baggies, against Newcastle United and Chelsea, he was dropped to the bench for last week's game at home to Norwich, and while Long was introduced as a half-time sub he was unable to turn the game around as Norwich won 2-0 at the Hawthorns.
But Long feels he can deal with the fact that Clarke wants to rest players. "Three games in a week was on the gaffer's mind so he made four or five changes and tried to freshen it up," added Long.
"At half-time he gave me and Saido (Berahino) the nod to try to attack a bit more and we had four strikers on the pitch in the second half.
"We were all over them but we just couldn't get that little break and if we'd got one I think we could've got two or three.
"The gaffer did it last year with myself and Rom (Lukaku), giving one another a rest.
"He's got that depth in the squad to know he can throw someone in there and share the load. I think I've been playing well and the gaffer has reassured me of that.
"He wanted to change it on Saturday and I fully respect that," added Long, aware that Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane was at the Hawthorns on Saturday.
The West Brom players didn't dwell for too long on the defeat to Norwich as the squad headed to Dublin that night for their Christmas party, with photo later emerging of Long performing a busking set on the street, and it suited the Tipperary man to put the Norwich loss behind him.
"I think the sooner we forget about Saturday the better," said the Ireland striker.
"We know we need to pick things up fairly soon but it's too early to start worrying. We need to get back to playing teams off the field and letting the rest take care of itself.
"We have two winnable games coming up now against Cardiff and Hull and then the Christmas period with West Ham and Tottenham.
"There are still points up for grabs so we can't get too down on ourselves. We've just got to forget about Saturday, get back in training, get down to work, and concentrate on the job in hand.
"Saturday was one of the three games in a row where we thought we could get three points, so to come away with nothing was frustrating.
"We've got to learn from it but at the same time forget about it because we've got to make sure we pick up three points next Saturday and then move onto the Saturday after.
"Good results would take a bit of pressure off us going into the hectic Christmas schedule."