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

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By Tom English
BBC Scotland
Situated in the Hall of Fame room at the Hampden museum, Steve Clarke has a six-foot cardboard cut-out of Kenny Dalglish standing and another six-foot cardboard loaf of Alex Ferguson facing him. He moves the walls and then puffs his lips. Busby, Stein Greig, On and around the icons go. “Some sum of leaders in this area, eh?” He says. “Scary.”
This location is his football home the irony not lost on him. It provides him a chuckle when he thinks about the life is these days after of the verbal conflicts with the government during his spell at Kilmarnock. “I even get a little badge to use,” he smiles. “I will go through all the doors. I come up the stairs and that I don’t need to have my short with me to fight with an SFA charge. I go down the staircase later and I am not walking out having a two-match ban. It is good.”
Clarke is two matches to his Scotland predominate, an overdue win against Cyprus followed by a 3-0 loss in Belgium and now a home double-header against Russia and Belgium with the sense of foreboding on it. He can not give up on qualifying from the group, but in the real world the months ahead would be about acquiring his principles based and his team settled in time to your Nations League play-offs year.
The manager hoped to instil some goodwill in his defence because of these upcoming matches. That idea took a dip early when McKenna was invalided from the squad although he wanted to go with the Charlie Mulgrew-Scott McKenna centre-back partnership. The next in line was Stuart Findlay, but he moved. In addition, he disappeared, although after Findlay had been Grant Hanley hurt.
Add from the absent John Souttar and you’re talking about a state with a shortage of centre-halves dropping four of the ones that they do have before playing the aspect that knocked Spain from their past World Cup. And then a couple of days later playing with the country that removed Brazil from the identical tournament, who have scored seven goals in their past two meetings together with Scotland and, oh , are now ranked number one in the world.
Clarke wanted a struggle – and that it is, with all bells on. He’s adjusting to the scene, although he’s in his infancy at work. “Those who know me understand that I’m really decided, but I’m not one that goes around shouting about it. I keep all. I’m a silent person, which explains the reason this task is a small challenge since you need to come out, you will need to do more media, you will need to talk to more folks.
“It is not me. I am a guy who enjoys his boots , his throat rounds and some coaching notes. That’s what I am most comfortable performing. The other hand, the corporate thing, moving to the boardroom earlier games – it’s a small bit strange to me, however I’m going to be the best I can be.”
As a manager, a coach and a player, resilience was Clarke’s watchword. He was the type of character who watched Dan Petrescu took strength from the challenge and arrive in a fanfare to take his place. Petrescu, he informs me , ended up playing right. He almost smiles at the memory of it. A redeemed participant seen off. Again.
“I wished to stay in the team however many big names came in. No matter where in this group. Anywhere. Not a great deal of individuals recall this but I played a central refuge, if Chelsea won the FA Cup in 1997. I was never a flamboyant player, never. I only wanted to go out and do my job. People like me are quite valuable to managers.”
His trip to Hampden began back in Newcastle when he saw that the then-manager Ruud Gullit composing a few notes following a reduction to Sunderland and realised another day that what the Dutchman was his resignation letter. Clarke is put by that on the road. At the deep end. Why not?
He picked up pieces along the way from everyone. He learned about man management. Nobody better than Bobby. “He understood players, he understood that the way that they think. Do not lie . They see through lies all day . 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 might accept that, provided that you’re honest. Try to pull the wool over their eyes try to be too clever and you begin to lose them”
In Chelsea, where his bond together with Jose Mourinho was as strong as it had been powerful, he learned about organisation and intensity, about planning of instruction and gameplans. Mourinho had charm. Clarke would go into his news conferences and stand in the back of the room to observe a master communicator (also manipulator) at work.
“I have not spoken to Jose for a couple of years now. It is normal in soccer, you go down messages and the text different paths tidy and you float. He’s his lifetime, I have my entire life, but we will always have friends. I saw a quote from him recently about how he might have to change his style of management a bit, that maybe the contemporary player doesn’t react quite as well to this driven way of hisor her He’s a prize winner. He will be back”
In June 2012, Clarke became director of West Brom. He learned many things there that he does not know where to begin. That season was Kilmarnock-like in texture. West Brom beat Liverpool (twice), Everton and Chelsea and drew 5-5 with Manchester United in Ferguson’s farewell game as manager. In his breakthrough period, Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick. Lukaku has said that he owes his career Clarke.
West Brom completed eighth, an all-time large in the Premier League. Five weeks into his second time, he had been sacked. “Brutal,” he states. And in case you missed it, he says it. “Absolutely barbarous.”
Clarke dropped and down the axe had lost four in a row at the. “This was a shock at the time, but I didn’t moan about it. It’s similar to what I had been saying about studying out of Bobby and Jose. I heard a great deal. There is A lesson do not lose four in a row. Or react better if you can.
“Maybe I had been feeling the power of the circumstance. Perhaps I did not run myself with the authority to show that I was still in control. Maybe I panicked a bit. I don’t know. I didn’t observe any shift in my demeanour, but the board needs to have discovered something. They say once you get the sack, that you simply come to be a supervisor. Well, I became a manager December 2013.
“It’s a really strange profession, this. A profession, but very, very brutal, particularly today where everything is transient and instant. I moved on. I’ve always been great at moving on, from bad and good. Folks ask me about Kilmarnock, but I’m one of these guys that when I sell a home I do not go back and look to determine whether they’ve changed the drapes or dug on the grass. I go. They’ve a new manager with different ideas and a different means of playing and they must move on together without me, although my moment with Kilmarnock was quite enjoyable. I would like to continue sticking my oar in there might be incorrect. It is not my job anymore.”
While realising that there is a time limit on these things, clarke is a monster in there was approval when he had been appointed as director of the team that he acknowledges and enjoys. He understands all about the”apathy” that is out there for the Scotland team right now. He knows that everyone was ground down by twenty years of failure.
When Cyprus equalised in his debut game he can see this, and hear it. “Resigned disappointment” is the way he describes the atmosphere at Hampden in 1-1. “To the fans, this equaliser was just another kick in which it really hurts. But then we got the winner and you may feel the power. If we get it all right, the fans will return. They will definitely come back.”
He will not lie. He does not understand how much time it will take to begin working. “I’m softly impressed with the group of players. They’re positive. They’re determined to make amends although they have realised that they’ve made things difficult with all the reduction in Kazakhstan. Whether we advance quickly or slowly is something you can’t predict but this group has the capacity.
“The fans are a little bit down, but that I can’t say that it is going to be a quick fix. I really don’t think you get quick fixes. Kilmarnock wasn’t a quick fix. It may have looked like that, but it was not. The strength at Kilmarnock was not the individual player, it was the group, everybody working together with a means of playing that they appreciated. It took lots of work.
“They bought in to it and they appreciated ruffling a few feathers. They enjoyed picking up things against teams that they were not designed to pick up things against. Hopefully that’s something we could put here, a group that believes itself, believes it could get results, considers it can upset the so-called larger nations.”
Also as his trophy-laden Celtic players – that calls Ryan Christie”electric” and can grin when recalling how Christie”totally shattered my Kilmarnock team last season” – Clarke has an increased variety of actors from the Premier League to choose from. Andy Robertson in Liverpool, Kieran Tierney (when match ) at Arsenal,” Scott McTominay at Manchester United, Kenny McLean in Norwich, Ryan Fraser at Bournemouth, Robert Snodgrass in West Ham, John McGinn at Aston Villa, Stuart Armstrong in Southampton, Oli McBurnie – the 20m striker – and also John Fleck at Sheffield United.
Appearances can, obviously, be deceptive. These boys have a league although perhaps not all are starters. Armstrong has not begun a game for his club this season. McLean has been in recent matches on the bench. McBurnie has been slipped into it. Snodgrass is out and in. As he hunts for that cohesion that produced Kilmarnock so successful, Clarke says they get a opportunity to impress against Belgium and Russia.
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 discover a way. It is a puzzle, it is no issue. Having two excellent left-backs is not an issue. Getting them is something which to when the time comes I need to discover the solution. I won’t lose any sleep about it just yet. The absolute most essential thing for Kieran is he excels in at Arsenal and we’ll see him if he is ready.”
Three times 15, Prepared or not, Scotland and Russia are currently enjoying on Friday and Belgium. An effect from the Russians is get-able when Scotland are that they can be on the evening. Belgium, you fancy, will soon be an additional evening hoping to handle the brilliance at the ranks. Hampden will find it is voice , no doubt about it In case Clarke gets anything from the match subsequently.
“The Tartan Army are through a good deal, however they wish to appreciate this group. You’re able to see that. {It is possible to {feel|sen

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