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Clarke: Effort was good but improvements are needed

The Scotland boss says there are lessons still to be learned for the team.

Clarke: Effort was good but improvements are needed SNS Group

Scotland manager Steve Clarke saw his team’s hopes of winning the Nations League group end in defeat to Israel and said it was evidence the team still had plenty room to improve.

A goal from Manor Solomon was enough to separate the sides in Netanya and consign Scotland to a second defeat since beating Serbia to reach Euro 2020 just six days ago.

In the loss to Israel, like the defeat in Slovakia on Sunday, Scotland created chances but were undone at the back.

Clarke said that while the effort couldn’t be faulted it was clear that the team still lacked some qualities.

“I saw a group of players who tried everything to get a result for their country,” he said.

“We wanted to finish this Nations League campaign on a high, we wanted to top the section.

“Unfortunately, similarly to Sunday, we just lacked a bit of quality, a bit of nous, a bit of calmness in the final third to get the result we needed.

“We got punished heavily for a counter-attack that we didn’t deal with, which made it a more difficult second half.

“The effort, the attitude, the application, was good. But we need to keep improving and if we want to keep improving then we need to learn to capitalise on the moments in the game when we are on top.”

The manager pointed out that the team had taken great strides in the space of a year but said that there was work to do on the away record after impressive results at Hampden.

He also said that the obvious target of scoring goals had to be met. Scotland have scored only six goals in eight games this season but created plenty of opportunities.

“Hopefully it will come,” he said. “It’s been a slow progress. It didn’t happen immediately.

“We have to keep working, we have to keep believing that we have goals in the team.

“We had 14, 15, 16 shots on goal, seven on target, and one or two were opportunities at this level, that if you want to be successful, they have to be goals.”