West Brom boss Clarke eager to go on a European 'adventure'

The Baggies manager says that after seeing how upcoming opponents Newcastle have enjoyed their season in the Europa League, every team should be embracing the challenge
West Brom boss Steve Clarke says that after seeing how upcoming opponents Newcastle enjoyed their Europa League "adventure", every team should be fighting for a place in Europe.

The Magpies were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the competition against Benfica, but not before facing the likes of Anzhi Makhachkala and Bordeaux.

And with a European place still a remote possibility for the Baggies, Clarke argues every team should have the ambition of fighting for that place, regardless of the struggles Alan Pardew's side have faced domestically this season.

11/1 West Brom are 11/1 with William Hill to beat Newcastle 2-0 on Saturday
"If you have a chance to qualify for the Europa League then that's what you should do and you should take your chances, like Newcastle did," Clarke told reporters.

"I don't think anything should get in the way of your ambition. They qualified for the quarter-finals, which is a great achievement.

"I've got some friends still at Newcastle and I know they enjoyed their Europa League adventure. They enjoyed the trips, enjoyed the games and enjoyed the different challenges against different players from different countries.

"Everything wrapped into the whole European package is great, and if you have the chance to do it as a coach, a player, a manager or a supporter, you have to try and do it and embrace it."

Saturday's encounter at the Hawthorns is the second meeting between the two this season after a late goal cost the Baggies a point at St James' Park.

Clarke says that his team will have to be wary against a squad who have improved since then, despite their 3-0 loss to rivals Sunderland on Sunday.

He added: "It was disaapointing. It was a game where I was preparing to say how disappointed I was to drop two points and then we ended up dropping all three.

"We played well that day and I think even Newcastle would admit we were better than them.

"There's a long time gone since then and things have changed. Newcastle have gone out in the January window and spent quite a large amount of money to improve their squad and make sure they stay in the Premier League.

"I think they need one more win to secure their place in the league, so it will be a tough game for us. I think Newcastle are better now than when we played them earlier this season."