West Brom boss Steve Clarke: It was Norwich City’s day
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke accepted that his side's 4-0 hammering at Carrow Road was probably down to the fact that the Canaries needed the points more – but he was still surprised by the margin of defeat.
'You don't think it's going to happen to you and your team,' said Clarke.
'We've been terrific this season, today we were the opposite. We were really poor.
'It was Norwich's day and it's a blow to us because that's not a normal performance for West Bromwich Albion.
'At this stage of the season for Norwich it was their defining game, the game they probably looked at and thought that if they could get a win, they're safe in the league.'
After three successive Premier League defeats, Clarke was asked if his players had switched off mentally, knowing they were safe.
'It's a difficult one to answer because I can't get inside their minds. We worked the same as we've worked all season, we prepared for the game as we have before,' he said.
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'The performance in midweek at Manchester City was good, the performance at home to Wigan should have got us something out of the game.
'Today we were nowhere near it. It was Norwich's day, not ours.
'We used a system that has worked quite well for us in recent weeks, but today it didn't. If I pick a team and the performance is like that, it has to be may fault. I misread the game.
'I didn't think that Norwich were capable of causing us so many problems. I thought with three front players we could cause them a lot of problems but we didn't.'
Clarke refused to criticise goalkeeper Ben Foster, who kicked thin air to enable City skipper Grant Holt to score the crucial second goal.
'It's a mistake,' said Clarke. 'He knows it's a mistake. He didn't do it on purpose. And it was pivotal in the game. At 1-0 there was still the nervousness and the tension around the stadium. At 2-0 it released the pressure and they ran away with the game at the end.'