Scotland v Russia: Steve Clarke on managers, Mourinho & making amends

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From Tom English
BBC Scotland
Situated in the Hall of Fame room at the Hampden museum, Steve Clarke includes a six-foot cardboard cut-out of Kenny Dalglish position behind him and a different six-foot cardboard cut-out of Alex Ferguson facing him. He overlooks the walls and puffs his cheeks. Busby, Stein Greig, about the icons and On move. “Some sum of leaders in this place, eh?” He says. “Scary.”
This place is his soccer home now, that the irony not lost on him. It gives him a nod when he thinks about the different life is nowadays during his memorable attraction at Kilmarnock after the verbal conflicts with the authorities. “I even get a small badge to wear,” he smiles. “I can go through each of the doorways. I come up the stairs and that I do not need to have my brief to struggle an SFA charge. I go down the staircase later and I’m not walking out having a two-match ban. It is excellent.”
Clarke is two games to his Scotland predominate, an overdue win against Cyprus followed by now and a 3-0 loss in Belgium a home double-header from Belgium and Russia that has the feeling of foreboding about it. He can’t give up on qualifying from this team, however in the actual world the months ahead would be all about getting his principles based and his staff settled in time to get your Nations League play-offs year.
The manager was hoping to instil some goodwill in his defence for these upcoming games. He wished to go again with all the Charlie Mulgrew-Scott McKenna centre-back partnership when McKenna had been invalided from the squad, but that notion took. The second in line was Stuart Findlay, however, he went down too. In addition, he withdrew, although after Findlay had been Grant Hanley hurt.
Insert in the absent John Souttar and you’re discussing a country with a lack of centre-halves losing four of those they do have prior to enjoying with the side that knocked Spain out of the past World Cup. And a couple of days after playing the nation that eliminated Brazil from precisely exactly the exact same championship, who’ve scored seven goals in their last two meetings with Scotland and, oh , are now ranked number one on the planet.
Clarke wanted a challenge – and that it is, with bells on. He’s in his infancy in the job, but he’s adjusting to the scene. “People who know me understand that I’m really determined, but I am not one which goes around crying about it. I keep everything. I am a silent individual, which is the reason this job is a small challenge because you will need to come out, you need to do more press, you need to talk to more people.
“It’s not me. I am a man who likes on his boots, tracksuit, small whistle round his neck and likely some coaching notes. That’s what I’m most comfortable doing. The other hand, the business entity, going to the boardroom earlier games – it is a small bit strange to me, however I’m going to be the best that I could be.”
As a coach, a participant and a director, resilience was the watchword of Clarke. He had been the sort of personality who saw Dan Petrescu took strength and arrive at a fanfare. Petrescu, he informs me , ended up playing right. He almost smiles at the memory of this. A redeemed participant seen off. Again.
“I wished to stay in the team no matter how many big names arrived in. Didn’t matter where in this team. Anywhere. Not a lot of people recall this but when Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1997 I played a central refuge. I was not a player, never went looking for headlines. I wanted to go outside and do my job. People like me are extremely important to managers.”
His trip to Hampden began back in Newcastle when he saw that the then-manager Ruud Gullit composing a few notes after a loss to Sunderland and realised the next day what the Dutchman was his resignation letter. Clarke is put by that to coaching on the path. At the deep end. Why not?
He picked up pieces on the way from everyone. By Bobby Robson, who took more than Gullit, he learned about man management. Nobody greater than Bobby. “He understood players, he knew the way that they think. Do not lie . They see through lies all day long. I tell my players that my door is always open, come and have a conversation but be prepared to hear things you might rather not hear. Individuals will accept that, as long as you are honest. Attempt and pull the wool over their eyes try to be overly smart and you begin to lose them”
At Chelsea, at which his bond together with Jose Mourinho was strong as it had been powerful, he learned about durability and organisation, about preparation of instruction and gameplans. Mourinho had such charisma. Clarke would enter his news conferences and stand in the rear of the area to see that a master communicator (also manipulator) at work.
“I haven’t spoken to Jose for a couple of years now. It is normal in football, you go down slowly the text and different avenues messages tidy and you drift. We’ll always have friends, although he has his life, I’ve my life. I saw a quote from him recently about the way he may have to modify his style of management a bit, that maybe the modern player does not respond quite as well to this driven way of hisor her He’s a trophy winner. He’ll be back.”
In June 2012, Clarke became director of West Brom. He learned many things there which he doesn’t know where to begin. That year was Kilmarnock-like in texture. West Brom beat Liverpool (double ), Everton and Chelsea and drew 5-5 with Manchester United in Ferguson’s farewell game as director. In his breakthrough period, a hat-trick was scored by Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku has said that he owes his livelihood.
West Brom completed eighth. Five weeks into his second time, he was sacked. “Brutal,” he says. And in case you missed it, then he says it again. “Absolutely barbarous.”
Clarke had lost four in a row in the accumulation to Christmas and the axe fell. “It was a shock at the time, but I didn’t moan about it. It is like what I had been saying about studying from Bobby and Jose. I heard a great deal at West Brom. There is A good lesson do not lose four. Or react better if you can.
“Perhaps I was feeling the level of the situation. I didn’t conduct myself with the right ability to demonstrate that I was still in control. Maybe I panicked a little bit. I really don’t understand. The board must have discovered something, although I didn’t notice any change in my demeanour. It is said that you come to be a supervisor as soon as you have the sack. I became a supervisor December 2013.
“It’s a really peculiar career, this. A great profession, but very, very brutal, especially today where everything is instant and passing. I moved on. I’ve always been good at moving , from poor and good. People ask me however I’m one of these guys that if I sell a house I do not go back and look to determine whether they dug the bud or’ve changed the curtains. I go. They have to move on together with me, but they have a manager with various ideas and a means of enjoying although my moment with Kilmarnock was quite enjoyable. I would like to continue sticking my oar in there will be wrong. It is not my job anymore.”
Clarke is a beast in that there was acceptance when he was appointed as manager of the team, a degree of service he appreciates and acknowledges while realising that there is a time limit on those things. He knows all about the”apathy” that exists out there for the Scotland team right now. He knows that everybody was ground down by twenty decades of failure.
When Cyprus equalised late in the role in his debut match, he can see this, and listen to it, for himself. “Resigned disappointment” is how he describes the air at Hampden in 1-1. “To the fans, this equaliser was another kick in which it actually hurts. But we got the winner and you could feel the power. If we get it right the fans will return. They will definitely return.”
He will not lie. He does not know how long it will take to begin working. “I’m lightly impressed with the number of gamers. They are positive. They’re determined to make amends although they have realised that they’ve made things difficult with the reduction in Kazakhstan. Whether we progress quickly or slowly is something that you can’t predict but that this group has the potential.
“The fans are a little down, but I can’t say that it’s likely to be a speedy fix. I don’t believe you get fixes. Kilmarnock was not a quick fix. It might have seemed like that, but it wasn’t. The potency at Kilmarnock was not the player, it had been everybody, the team. It took a lot of difficult work.
“They bought into it and they enjoyed ruffling a few feathers. They enjoyed picking up things against groups that they weren’t supposed to pick up points against. Hopefully that’s something we can put here, a group which believes in itself, believes it could get results, believes it can upset the so-called bigger countries.”
Also as his trophy-laden Celtic players – that predicts Ryan Christie”electrical” and can now smile when recalling how Christie”completely shattered my Kilmarnock team last season” – Clarke has an greater number of performers from the Premier League to select from. Andy Robertson at Liverpool, Kieran Tierney (when fit) in Arsenal, Scott McTominay in Manchester United, Kenny McLean in Norwich, Ryan Fraser in Bournemouth, Robert Snodgrass in West Ham, John McGinn in Aston Villa, Stuart Armstrong in Southampton, Oli McBurnie – the 20m striker – and also John Fleck at Sheffield United.
Appearances may, naturally, be misleading. These boys have a league that is glamorous but not all are starters. Armstrong hasn’t begun a match for his club this year. McLean was around on the bench in recent matches. McBurnie is being slipped into it. Snodgrass is outside and in. As he hunts for that cohesion that produced Kilmarnock successful, Clarke says they will all get a chance.
When Robertson and Tierney are equally fit, what does Clarke do? “Get them at the group. Don’t ask me how, but we will find a way when you have good players you have to find a way. It is a puzzle, it is no problem. Having two is never an issue. Getting them in the group is something which to when the time comes, I want to discover the remedy. I will not miss any sleep about it. The most significant thing to get Kieran is that he settles in at Arsenal and we’re going to see him if he’s ready.”
Three times 15, Prepared or not, Scotland and Russia are playing with on Belgium and Friday. If Scotland are that they could be on the evening An effect against the Russians is get-able. Belgium, you fancy, will probably be an additional forlorn evening attempting to handle the brilliance in the ranks. Hampden will find the voice of it , no doubt about that if Clarke gets anything in the match.
“The Tartan Army are through a good deal, but they need to love this group. You can see that. {You can {feel|sen

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