Downing's first match in charge saw Albion end a four-match losing run with a spirited 1-1 draw at home to Hull on Saturday.
He now switches his attention to the Boxing Day clash at Tottenham and their trip to West Ham two days later.
Downing said: "I suppose there's a bit less pressure on the lads because of what's going on, but you're always going to have the uncertainty of 'who is going to come in?' and 'hopefully I can impress'.
"At half-time against Hull we just tried to settle down a little bit because it was such a disruptive week. I just got the reflection of that in the first half and thought 'come on, boys, that's not us'.
"There was an edginess and a tension and we've got to try to settle things down and play with freedom and expression."
Downing has not changed too many things since Clarke's departure but is keen to draw positives from a difficult situation.
"We're just different personalities," he said of his own management style.
"Steve's very astute and meticulous, a great coach. I'm a little bit of Steve, a little bit of Roy (Hodgson) before that and a bit of my own personal slant on it.
"I try to get people rallied together and galvanise the group because of the disappointment of what happened last week. They've very much got behind me, which is great.
"We've tried to get a bit of a siege mentality around just to try to get everyone together and have an enthusiasm, a work ethic, and to be fair the boys have been really good."
Albion were poor in the first half against Hull before Downing introduced Matej Vydra, Zoltan Gera and Saido Berahino from the bench.
Vydra and Gera combined for the Baggies' equaliser, with the Czech striker scoring the goal, but Downing was reluctant to take too much credit for the substitutions.
"Maybe I didn't get the starting XI right because I had to change it at half-time," he said.
"During games you get them right and get them wrong. But what I've got is a good set of substitutes and a good squad behind me, so I can look around on a matchday and think 'he can make an impact' and 'he can have an effect on the team'.
"The three lads on Saturday did that and it's about having that strength in depth and someone who can change the game."
Downing revealed striker Victor Anichebe is doubtful to face Spurs with a groin injury.