Friday 15 December 2017

Steve Clarke sacked by West Brom

Cardiff City 1 West Brom 0

Cardiff City's Peter Whittingham scores the opening goal with header against West Brom
Cardiff City's Peter Whittingham scores the opening goal with header against West Brom

Andrew Gwilym

Steve Clarke has been sacked by West Bromwich Albion following a fourth straight Premier League loss. The Baggies lost out to a rare headed goal by midfielder Peter Whittingham which gave Cardiff a vital win and left the Baggies just two points above the relegation zone.

Whittingham converted superbly at the far post from Craig Noone's cross in the 65th minute to give Cardiff a deserved three points which gave them some valuable breathing space over the bottom three.

For Cardiff, Whittingham has been a fans' favourite for many years, but found himself out of the side during the latter stages of the Championship title success.

However, he has responded superbly this season and Mackay hailed the efforts he has made in adapting to his return to the Premier League.

"I'm delighted for him because he's been one of my most consistent performers this year," said Malky Mackay.

"He worked hard on his body to survive in the Premier League in midfield and he's showing that this season."

The method of Whittingham's goal may have been unfamiliar, but Mackay revealed he had been on the receiving end the last time the playmaker scored with his head. "Peter scored a headed goal against me when I was the manager of Watford about four years ago," he said.

"I told him that. I said, 'do you remember the last time you scored a header?' and he went, 'against you at Watford'."

Mackay was also pleased with the overall performance of his team as they ended a run of five games without a win. "I thought we started really well and put West Brom on the back foot right away. It gave us that momentum," he said.

Defeat means West Brom have suffered four straight defeats and have only won one of their last 10.

The Baggies created very little until forced to chase the game -- their best chances saw Gareth McAuley denied by Gary Medel's clearance on the line and David Marshall save superbly from Shane Long's header..

Long also had a penalty appeal turned down after Ben Turner appeared to bundle him over in the box.

If Clarke had an inkling he was about to be sacked, he did not let on in the immediate aftermath of the match.

"We created some chances as we normally do," said Clarke. "At the moment things aren't quite going for us. I don't think it's a lack of confidence. The longer the game went on, the more we played and the more chances we created."

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