Pete can still be a star for Baggies
WEST BROM boss Steve Clarke insists Peter Odemwingie still has a vital part to play this season.
Having travelled with the squad to Anfield on Monday night, the Nigerian watched the Baggies’ surprise 2-0 win over Liverpool from the stands
Clarke said the 31-yearold, who was disciplined by the club after trying to force a deadline-day move to QPR by driving to Loftus Road, was involved with the team in the pre-match build-up and hopes he can soon return in a playing capacity.
Clarke had suggested prior to the Liverpool match that Odemwingie might be involved for the first time since January 19, but insisted there was nothing sinister in his eventual decision to leave him out.
“It wasn’t an additional punishment and he was involved, that’s why he was there,” said the Baggies boss.
“He was in the dressing room. He was delighted for his team-mates and was there to support them and help them.
“That’s what being part of a squad is all about.
“Peter will make a contribution in the season going forward.”
West Brom spent most of the match on the back foot and were lucky to still be in the game with 10 minutes to go after goalkeeper Ben Foster saved Steven Gerrard’s penalty.
Gareth McAuley’s header and Romelu Lukaku’s 90th-minute strike snatched victory – but Clarke praised his midfield for the win.
“It’s the first time in a number of weeks I’ve had the luxury of being able to pick Youssouf Mulumbu, Claudio Yacob and James Morrison in the same midfield,” he said.
“When they’re together and everyone is doing their jobs properly we’re a good team and deserve to be in the top eight.
“When Shane Long and Lukaku play together up front, they play well – but when I have my three midfielders in there it’s difficult to play both.
“In recent weeks, Lukaku has been carrying a lot of weight up front so it was nice to give him a breather. He came on when Liverpool were chasing the game and we could pick them off.”
QPR “lost their minds” when they shelled out megabucks for Chris Samba.
That’s the view of one of the directors who sold the defender.
Rangers paid out £12.5million to trigger the defender’s release fee from Russian club Anzhi and are reported to have handed Samba a contract worth £100,000 a week.
The move for Samba was the most eye-catching January swoop by the Premier League’s bottom club and led to criticism they were taking a big gamble to avoid the drop.
And Anzhi director German Tkachenko (left) admits he couldn’t believe the amount R’s were prepared to pay for the player.
He said: “At QPR he will earn almost as much as he did at Anzhi.
“In my view, QPR have lost their minds.
“When they agreed to pay his release fee, we wept. Samba wept.
“Everybody says that he ran away from the club, but that’s not true.
“He didn’t put any pressure on us until we received an offer from QPR for £12.5m, the amount required by his contract.”
CRYING GAME: Samba wept when QPR triggered his buy-out clause and he left Russia to link up with