Inside the 'hurt' Scotland dressing room after Germany rout as Steve Clarke lifts lid on brutally honest inquest

Scotland players appear dejected after defeat to Germany
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Scotland boss Steve Clarke says he has ‘kicked some backsides’ and given out some ‘cuddles’ in a bid to make the country fall back in love with his national side.

The manager admits to being ‘hurt and disappointed’ by the woeful nature of the opening night performance in Munch on Friday night when Germany romped to a devastating 5-1 Group A win. Speaking at Scotland ’s camp here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen yesterday lunchtime, Clarke accepted responsibility for the hammering and admitted he may have confused his own players with his big game strategy.

And Clarke has spent the last 72 hours attempting to repair the damage that has been done to his squad as they gear up for the second game of the group against Switzerland on Wednesday night. Asked what his role has been in restoring belief among his crest-fallen players he said: “Kicking a couple of backsides, giving a couple of cuddles, getting them together as a group, making them understand why we had that performance on Friday night and making sure we don’t have that again.

“I am always confident in my players and I am confident in myself. We let people down, we obviously let the country down, but we let ourselves down. That is what hurts the most. It is what hurts me the most, that we let ourselves down.

“If we don’t let ourselves down then we don’t let anybody else down so we have to look straight at the source of the problem. What happened? We were the problem. Okay, let’s fix ourselves. If we fix ourselves then the country might like us again!”

Clarke believes the strength of the bond forged between himself and the players over five years together has allowed him to bring the hammer down on them following Friday’s opening night flop. He said: “Initially I would have been hesitant to do it, but we have been together for a long time. I respect the players and I am 99.9 per cent sure the players respect me and my staff. So we can have an open dialogue.

“We can use everything as a motivation. The biggest motivation for me is when we came to this tournament we felt we were a good team. We haven’t shown that in the first game so let’s show it in the second game.

“If we show we are a good team and play as we can play we can get a result in the Swiss game that takes us to the last game. That’s what we have to do. We believe in ourselves. There is no danger of that. We know it was a bad night. We have to accept the criticism that comes our way but we have to try to put it right.”

-Credit:Getty Images
-Credit:Getty Images

And asked what he plans to do differently in Cologne on Wednesday night against the Swiss Clarke said: “Try not to concede five goals. Give a better message. If I criticise myself – and I always do, I start with myself – maybe I gave too much information which clouded the players on the pitch in terms of what we do with the ball, what we do without the ball.

“So we can work on that. We did this morning and will for the next two days going into the game on Wednesday night. Hopefully we will see a different performance.

“I have spoken to one or two players around the squad, whose opinion I value. I had a good chat with a few of them.

“I then had a little chat with a lot of them on the training pitch this morning, just to try and put one or two things in their head that maybe they didn’t do when they went on the pitch, that they should have done.

“We know what went wrong. I spoke to the players about what I feel was wrong from my side, from what I gave them. Their interpretation of what we asked them to do was wrong so we have worked on that and spoken about that. I haven’t finished with them because we have a pre-dinner meeting just to tidy that up.

“The post-dinner meeting will be about Switzerland and working towards that game. We are just tidying up the loose ends when I get back now.”