West Bromwich Albion's Peter OdemwingieWest Brom striker Peter Odemwingie believes that his manager Steve Clarke deserves “a lot of credit” for the club’s strong start to the season.

The Nigerian forward netted twice as the Baggies beat Southampton 2-0 on Monday, a result which moved them up to fifth in the Premier League table.

The 31-year-old, who has been Albion’s top scorer during the last two seasons, hailed the impact of Clarke, who took over from England manager Roy Hodgson over the summer:

“We are improving as players individually which is very important. I can see that.” He told SkySports.

“It is so obvious many players have improved and the manager deserves a lot of credit for that.

“His goal this season was to increase the number of passes we make and that makes you enjoy the game more and brings more excitement.

“We create so many chances and those things are also very encouraging.”

The striker also believes that the club could even mount a challenge for European qualification, so long as they can maintain their form:

“We need to consider also there is a bit of instability (up and down results) amongst the other teams under the top four so that is the hope.

“The weekend results helped us to bridge the gap that was there (in the table) and if we keep playing like this, and the rest of the teams outside the top four are still unstable… you never know.

“We will be surprised to finish in the top six or seven but I don’t think we will say it is a mistake if we keep playing like we have for the past two months.”

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