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Darrell Clarke: Walsall look like lost little boys

Walsall boss Darrell Clarke criticised his players’ mentality after their third loss in as many games.

Darrell Clarke.
Darrell Clarke.

The Saddlers fell to a 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham on Saturday, following poor defeats to Salford and Leyton Orient.

But despite saying some of his players are ‘mentally weak’, Clarke insists the buck should stop with him after the three defeats.

“The mentality of the players that I brought into the club has to be a lot better,” he said. “They’re like little boys, some of them out there.

“I take full responsibility, they’re going to get my help and my coaching staff’s support.

“It’s really poor, they’re showing me a hell of a lot more in training than they are in matches.

“But you get paid for matches.

“They have to learn, it’s a young group, very, very young group.

“It’s how you respond to that.

“Me, I’ll stand up and be counted, not a problem.

“I’ve been in many situations like this as a manager.

“What I will say is take it out on me, not my players, they know they’re not good enough at the minute, I know they’re not good enough at the minute.

“We have to support them and help them and turn them into the players I know they can be.

“You think you build momentum with the four wins but that wasn’t fooling me to be honest.

“It’s certainly not papering over cracks, I’ll always say it how it is.

“I don’t need to watch another game to know there weren’t enough characters and mental strength out there.

“Footballers are mentally weak and we have to build them up.”

And Clarke is adamant that it will take time to turn the club’s fortunes around as there is no ‘quick fix’.

“I knew when I took over, there was no quick fix.

“There were a lot easier jobs out there for me to take but this one is really challenging.

“It gets more and more challenging for my players when they can’t handle the mental side of it and that’s when they make bad decisions.

“When to play forward, when to play the ball, when to shift it early.

“We do a lot of work on our team shape, out team ethic, and hitting the balls in the right areas at the right time.

“But we’re hesitating, we’re not going forward enough at the right times.

“Those decision makings for me, is a bit of a weakness.

“Sometimes you go back to basics and get a group of players out there that can handle the pressures of modern day football.”

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