Pundit lays down England gauntlet after Scotland disaster; Clarke identifies issues

Date published: Monday 14th June 2021 4:55 - Steve Pearson

Steve Clarke dejected after Scotland defeat to Czech Republic, Euro 2020, June 2021

Scotland manager Steve Clarke identified two ways his side can quickly improve, while Scottish pundit Darren Fletcher laid down the gauntlet ahead of their now crucial clash with England.

Scotland were left with a mountain to climb to qualify for the knockout stages after their opening encounter ended in a 2-0 defeat to Czech Republic. Hopes were high pre-match of making an impression on the tournament, and the Scots showed great willing and desire throughout the contest. However, the difference in quality in the final third was never more evident than with Patrik Schick’s two goals.

The marksman guided a superb header beyond David Marshall to open the scoring before scoring a goal you have to see to believe from barely beyond the half-way line.

The result leaves Scotland likely needing to avoid defeat in their hotly-anticipated midweek clash with England.

Speaking to the BBC after the match, Clarke said: “We’ll go back to base camp, lick our wounds for 24 hours and then we’ll be ready for the game on Friday.

“It’s a good learning experience, we didn’t come here to learn but you still have to learn your lessons. We played some good stuff, although we could have been a bit braver on the ball.

“We didn’t work enough to get behind them in the first half, there are lots to learn from everybody.”

Former Man Utd and Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher felt there was “nothing” between the two sides despite the scoreline.

“It’s bitterly disappointing,” said Fletcher while working as a pundit for the BBC.

“Everyone was saying the Czech Republic game was a must-win and we couldn’t lose it, but we lost it. There was nothing between the two teams, but they took their chances and were clinical. We’ve still got two more games to go and we’ve got to pick ourselves up.

“This team have been written off before but have come back. I’m not ruling us out against England by any stretch of the imagination. Pick yourselves up, go to Wembley and who knows what can happen?

“We’ve got good enough players, we’ve a bit of character about us and we’ve just got to go there and prove that.”

Scotland played too many long balls – Armstrong

Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong also spoke to the press, telling the BBC: “It was a difficult one, the game was very compact, there wasn’t much space, and we were playing too many long balls for our liking. When we passed it, we did quite well but it was hard to break them down.

“Disappointed with the way the first goal went in, apart from that we defended pretty well, and they showed real qualify for the second goal. Not to say we didn’t have chances second-half, we did, and tried to push. They were clinical. At this level you do need to be clinical.

“We need to take experiences of today, learn from what happened, make a few little tweaks to our game. Fundamentally there were some positive moments and we have to carry that through to Friday.

“We’ve got two chances to produce a good performance and get something from it.”

MATCH REPORT: Sensational Schick silences Scotland with moment of pure brilliance

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