'Players are suffering and so am I': Clarke reflects on 'painful' defeat

The head coach says Scotland lost poor goals in the 4-0 defeat to Netherlands.

Scotland boss Steve Clarke admitted he and his players were “suffering” after their 4-0 defeat to Netherlands but said there was a performance to build on despite the scoreline.

The Dutch took the lead through Tijani Reijnders at the end of a competitive first half in Amsterdam, when Scotland had enjoyed spells on top, and Georginio Wijnaldum added another goal midway through the second half.

Substitutes Wout Weghorst and Donyell Malen both found the net in the last ten minutes though, turning what had been a creditable performance from Scotland into a punishing evening.

Clarke said there was no hiding from the scoreline and that there were lessons to be learned.

“Obviously we conceded a poor second goal and then we didn’t handle the rest of the game very well,” the head coach said. “I know I made some changes, but that shouldn’t affect the game so much.

“Netherlands also made some changes. To be honest, their changes were better than ours.

“With a scoreline of 4-0 you can’t hide and say everything’s great because we lost, which is, which is painful.

“The players are suffering and I’m suffering.”

Though the defeat stretched the team’s winless run to six games, and Scotland have now conceded 18 goals in that spell, Clarke did see plenty to like before the second Netherlands goal and how his team had created opportunities.

“Don’t forget, there was a lot of good stuff in the game that we have to look at and analyse,” he said. “We were very competitive with a good Dutch team for 70 minutes, so I’m going to probably spend a long time looking at that 70 minutes because that’s what we have to build on.

“That’s what we have to get better at. And then we have to learn when the game starts to move away from us, stick to what we are good at, try and tiptoe your way back into the game.

“We didn’t do that. We made the pitch too open.”

Scotland will now face Northern Ireland in a friendly at Hampden on Tuesday, with the team then facing Gibraltar and Finland in June before the Euros opener against hosts Germany.

“I didn’t say a lot after it, when emotions are as high as they are after a sore defeat it is better to go back to the hotel,” Clarke added.

“I will sit with my staff, analyse the game and try to prepare something that we can show to the players tomorrow.

“No wins in six so we have to stop that on Tuesday night.

“But there is a lot to be positive about. People can look at the scoreline and go negative, that’s up to them.

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