'That was very unexpected' - Clarke rues West Brom's slow start against Swansea

The Baggies manager was left frustrated with his side’s poor performance at the Liberty Stadium, while Michael Laudrup hailed the Swans' display as the best yet under him

Manager Steve Clarke has branded West Brom’s 3-1 defeat to Swansea City as "unexpected", and rued the slow start his side made to the game.

The hosts raced into two-goal lead inside 11 minutes through goals from Michu and Wayne Routledge, before the latter scored again six minutes before half-time to settle the tie before the break.

West Brom had previously won four Premier League games on the trot - including a 2-1 victory over Chelsea - to propel the team into third place, and Clarke was left surprised by his team’s inability to contain their opponents.

"That was very unexpected. We started so slowly it was incredible, you wouldn't believe it," Clarke told reporters.

"We know Swansea are a fantastic team and they play good football and we knew they would cause us problems. But I did not expect so many problems so early and when you are chasing the game it is going to be difficult.

"We have had a really good season, played really well. We came into the game confident, with more or less the same players and system, but that's football, it happens. They had a quick start, they got in front and we left ourselves too much to do to be honest."

While Clarke was left frustrated by his side’s performance, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup praised the home side’s dominating display.

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"It was a good team performance. Everyone played with one or two touches and when they took more than that, it was because they wanted to go one against one," Laudrup told Sky Sports News.

"I could say a lot more. Wayne Routledge scored two goals and Nathan Dyer came in after some games on the bench and played very well. But everybody in that first half [performed], it was just good to see."

The 48-year-old praised the blistering first-half display his players produced – hailing it the best from his side under his stewardship - and admitted it was odd to be able to sit back and enjoy a game while in charge for a change.

"It was the best [performance] I have seen for several seasons. It is not often as a manager you can sit and enjoy your team playing," he added.

"As always during a game there are moments when there are things you have to improve, but the first 45 minutes was outstanding, all 11 players played one-two touch football and everything was so good.

"It was one of the few times I can recall sitting there enjoying the game and today also showed everybody what we can do if we are at our best. It was great for me to see the players at their best."