Walsall's Darrell Clarke says sorry after collapse against Salford
Walsall boss Darrell Clarke tonight apologised to the Saddlers fans in the wake of a hugely disappointing home defeat against Salford City.
The ambitious Clarke pulled no punches in his post-match summing-up of the 3-0 defeat, the team’s first in five games after posting four successive wins in all competitions.
The Saddlers were missing several experienced figures and it showed as they were undone by a streetwise Salford outfit, but Clarke is demanding an improvement from his players as he continues his rebuilding at the Banks’s Stadium.
“It was very much a bad day at the office,” said Clarke.
“It just goes to show that when you are working with a group of players, and have two or three that are very important who are not in the team, we looked like a development team.
“That is where we are at Walsall at the minute, and we have got to learn as a group and learn quickly.
“We have come out against a Salford team who probably have treble our budget and are a team of experienced men.
“They are going to be there or thereabouts and it was men against boys and they showed that.
“They had lost a couple of games and were getting a bit of stick and we knew it was going to be a difficult game.
“We’d worked on them in our preparation as we do every team in this division but were just nowhere near good enough today.
“We never got the thrust of the game, never settled down or got our foot on the ball, and were sloppy in possession.
“It’s now three wins and a loss in the league over the last four games, and we would take that every day of the week.
“But I am very disappointed with today.
“I apologise to the home supporters who came in their numbers and got behind the team again.
“We haven’t performed in front of our home fans and that’s got to change.”
Clarke was particularly disappointed in a “lack of cutting edge” from his team, with a match which was fairly balanced in terms of possession and chances coming out strongly in Salford’s favour thanks to their clinical edge in both boxes.
“There was a lack of cutting edge and we had our opportunities but didn’t create nearly enough with the final ball again,” he added.
“We worked a couple of opportunities in the first half, but in the second half the wrong choice of final pass was massive for us.
“We have to get used to being robust in League Two in every single game, and I didn’t think we showed the character that was needed today.
“To be fair to Alfie Bates, at 18-years-old, he came on took the game by the scruff of the neck and can come away with a pat on his back.
“But apart from that there aren’t many positives to take.”
Walsall were without the experience of midfield general Danny Guthrie, with Clarke hoping it is a minor injury which should see him back in contention very soon.