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Mulumbu escapes fine over comments

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03 Dec 2013 22:16:56

Mulumbu escapes fine over comments

Youssouf Mulumbu will not be sanctioned by West Brom after appearing to criticise the club and suggest he was looking to join Arsenal during the January transfer window.

In an interview with France Football, midfielder Mulumbu claimed his Baggies team-mates were unprofessional and immature, adding he had been approached by Arsenal and is "ready to join a top-four club".

That is despite the fact the 26-year-old Congo international only signed a new contract over the summer through to the end of the 2017 season.

Mulumbu is adamant his quotes have been misinterpreted and he is now "not very happy" about how his answers have been reported by the French journalist concerned.

Mulumbu, suspended for Wednesday's visit to The Hawthorns of Manchester City, added: "I have been here for five years now and would never refer to my team-mates that way.

"I just spoke about the fact we need to get better at controlling games after the points we've let slip recently.

"The general point I was trying to make in the interview is I want to play at the highest level possible.

"I admitted there has been interest in me from other clubs during my time here, but I didn't speak about Arsenal and I also didn't say I would be looking to move in January.

"Not many people had heard of me when I joined West Brom and I have a lot of respect for the club and, of course, the supporters.

"We have progressed together over the past five years and West Brom gave me my chance in the Premier League, which I'm grateful for.

"I signed a new contract last summer and my only focus is supporting my team-mates tomorrow and then trying to help the club finish as high up the table as possible."

Despite the unnecessary distraction ahead of the clash with City, head coach Steve Clarke is far from concerned.

"I've read the transcript and there is a lot in it that is quite ambiguous and interpreted in different ways, and some people will interpret it in the way they want," said Clarke.

"I've spoken to my player, the club have also spoken to the player, and there'll be no action.

"We're happy with the explanation we've got and the situation as it has transpired. I know it's a journalist who put in the word Arsenal, not Youssouf."

However, Clarke can appreciate Mulumbu has ambitions and believes the club "can satisfy a lot of those he's talking about".

Clarke added: "If you're talking about the Champions League I would be foolish to say we could satisfy his Champions League ambitions, but Europa League? Why not?

"It's something we have to build towards. There are clubs similar to ourselves who have competed in the Europa League.

"I'm not saying this year or next year, but sometime in the future why can't West Brom be a team who can compete for a place in the Europa League?"

Of more pressing concern for Clarke is the clash with City, who have proven fragile away from home this season.

Despite the team's star-studded line-up, Clarke maintains there is "no fear" within his squad as the Baggies look to bounce back from Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.

"Man City at home have been a different team to Man City away, that's clear," said Clarke.

"They've four points from six away games, which is not title-winning form and is something I'm sure they'll address in the coming months.

"For us, it's to make sure they don't address it too quickly."

Mulumbu is joined on the sidelines by winger Scott Sinclair, on-loan from City and unavailable against his parent club, albeit sidelined anyway with a hamstring problem.

Goalkeeper Ben Foster is closing in on a return to action after being out since the end of August with a stress fracture to his right foot, but will not be ready to face City.


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