Steve Clarke named manager of the month

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Steve Clarke today became only the second Albion boss to be named Barclays Manager of the Month.

The Hawthorns head coach scooped the November Premier League award for steering the Baggies to four successive wins for the first time in the club's Premier League history.

He follows in the footsteps of Roberto Di Matteo, who bagged the honour as Albion chief in October 2010. A 3-1 defeat at in-form Swansea was the only low point in an otherwise sparkling November that saw Albion beat Southampton 2-0, Wigan 2-1, Chelsea 2-1 and Sunderland 4-2 to reach the heady heights of third place.

It is another notch in Clarke's belt following his appointment as Roy Hodgson's successor in the summer – a decision viewed by some as a gamble by the Baggies. His previous experience had been restricted to a series of coaching roles at high-profile clubs Chelsea, West Ham and Liverpool.

And Clarke paid tribute to staff and players who helped him add the award to his CV just five months into his first No.1 posting in football.

"It's a good reward for a good November," he said today. "I'm the one who picks the award up but it's obviously down to the work of my staff and players. The players were exceptional in November. We had a great run. Four victories in a row in the Premier League is difficult to achieve.

"We managed to do that and this trophy is a little reward for them. We wanted to start well and we wanted to try and build on it."

As much as Albion fans will applaud Clarke's achievement, they will now be fretting that he has been struck by the fabled curse of defeats that accompanies the honour.

The Baggies have also been struck down by reverses against Stoke and Arsenal and go into the West Ham game on Sunday anxious to stop their slide growing any steeper.

"Up until November, we'd done really well," added Clarke. "The last three games we've lost and now it's a different challenge for us and a different kind of pressure.

"We'll speak about it as a group. We've got a really good, honest bunch of players and if they keep applying themselves the way they have done so far and keep approaching games the way they have done, we'll have a really good season."

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