Steve Clarke lamented a "missed opportunity" after West Bromwich Albion squandered a two-goal lead against a resilient Aston Villa side. The outstanding Shane Long struck twice in the opening 11 minutes to put Albion in a commanding position but a triple substitution in the second half gave Villa the impetus to turn the game around and haul themselves level through goals from Karim El Ahmadi and Ashley Westwood.
Although Stéphane Sessègnon wasted two excellent chances to put Albion 3-0 up, Clarke said the turning point was when El Ahmadi was "allowed to drift into our box unopposed to make the game 2-1". Westwood's first goal for Villa ensured the West Midlands derby ended 2-2.
"From 2-0 up at home, you should win the game," Clarke, the Albion head coach, said. "The players are disappointed. We feel as though it was a missed opportunity to get three points. We have drawn too many games this season; you have to turn those draws into games. On the positive, it's one defeat in nine games, so it's not all doom and gloom."
There was another disappointing development at the end of a frustrating night for Albion when Saido Berahino, the England Under-21 international who remained on the bench throughout against Villa, raised doubts about his future when he tweeted: "Time to be selfish."
"I didn't see the tweet. I thought the [new] contract was almost done," Clarke said. "As far as I know the club have made him a really, really good offer and we're just waiting on his agents to sort it out. I don't think there is too much more negotiation to be done, they just have to put the pen to paper and sign the deal. It's a good deal."