Angry West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke today told his players the next month could define their season after Santi Cazorla’s dive helped condemn them to a third successive defeat.
The Baggies manager saw his side beaten by two controversial penalties at Arsenal as they slipped a place to sixth in the Premier League after yesterday’s results.
Clarke hit out at referee Mike Jones and today called on his team to show their character to return to winning ways.
“We have to dig in,” said Clarke, whose side had won four successive matches to go third in the table before losing their last three.
“I never said it was going to be sweetness and light all season. I said there would come a time when results would go against us, as they have done in the last three.
“So now we need to stand up and be ready for the next challenge. The next seven or eight games will shape whether we have a good season or a really good season.
“But we’ve now lost three in a row so we have to address that.”
Clarke, who was today awaiting news of Liam Ridgewell’s ankle injury, was critical of referee Jones.
He said: “We have a fantastic group of referees and we have to try to work really hard with them, but on Saturday we probably got one of the poorest of a really good group.”