Last Updated: Fri, 16 Nov 2012 11:03
Petr Cech rates Steve Clarke so highly that he was surprised Liverpool did not appoint him as manager when Kenny Dalglish was sacked.
Clarke's high-flying West Brom side will face Chelsea on Saturday for the first time since the Scot took up his first job in management this summer. He had spent 14 years as a coach before moving to the Hawthorns - a significant portion of which came at Chelsea, where he was assistant manager to Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant.
After leaving the Blues, Clarke had coaching roles at West Ham and Liverpool, where he remained until Dalglish was fired at the end of last season. Cech, who says he has benefited enormously from Clarke's coaching during his time at Stamford Bridge, never had any doubt that the 49-year-old would make it in to top-flight management.
"I was surprised that it took so long before he actually got (a job in management) because I would have thought that he might have got his chance at Liverpool," the Chelsea goalkeeper said.
West Brom have surpassed all expectations so far this season under Clarke. With 11 games gone the Baggies are fifth in the Barclays Premier League. Should they beat Chelsea at the Hawthorns, where they have dropped just two points this year, they will move within one point of the big-spending Blues. Cech has been delighted with how things are going for the new Baggies boss.
"I think he has been doing really well," Cech said. "I know he's been waiting for his chance quite a long time. He was always an important first-team coach while he was at Liverpool, and then obviously when he was with us. Now he has his chance to be manager, to do something with the team the way he wants to do it - his way. And he's been doing really well."
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