Football - Clarke plays down talk of Europe

West Brom boss Steve Clarke is not thinking about Europe despite his side putting their season back on track as he prepares to face former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

PA Sport

The Baggies have recovered from their Christmas and New Year slump via back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Sunderland to move on to the 40-point mark in the Barclays Premier League.

They are currently only two points behind sixth-placed Everton but Clarke, who spent 20 years as a player and coach with Chelsea, is playing down the Baggies' chances of attaining a Europa League spot.

Head coach Clarke said: "Forty points before the end of February is good. I was a bit disappointed we didn't reach 40 points before that because we had put ourselves in a great position.

"But we are there now. Are we safe? I don't know. By and large, if you look over the course of the Premier League history, 40 points is usually safe - but not always.

"I think it is better we look at the next few games coming up and try and add a few more points to the tally.

"I'm not sure the European spot is there. It only goes down to fifth in the league and at this stage of the season we're a little bit away from that.

"It's not something we will rule out because we're going to try to get as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.

"But if we look at the teams above us, it will be difficult to catch them."

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