Darrell Clarke Calls For Composure as Walsall Slip to Another Defeat

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken in the wake of Saturday's dismal defeat to Cheltenham Town and questioned some of his players' mentality as they slipped to a third defeat on the bounce, adding yet more weight onto their already heavily laden shoulders.
The Saddlers arrived at the clash with Cheltenham following defeats to Salford City and Leyton Orient, continuing their poor spell in front of goal with the strikers' lack of goals being a particular concern, even with more than half of the season still yet to play.

Clarke, who had initially sought to take full resposibility for the defeat to the Robins, admitted that some of his players looked lost as they struggled to force their way back into the contest despite Josh Gordon bagging his first goal of the season from the penalty spot.

The manager has now seen his side defeated seven times in their fourteen League Two outings and admitted that things aren't going well before calling on the club's supporters to take their frustration out on him as his recently rebuilt squad still needs their backing.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Darrell said; "The mentality of the players that I brought into the club has to be a lot better. 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."

Mansfield-born Clarke, who enjoyed managerial success with Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers before joining the Saddlers, went on to admit that it will take time to turn the club’s fortunes around insisting he is in it for the long haul, something he was prepared for when he took over from Dean Keates last summer.

The gaffer continued; "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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