Clarke Admits to Selection Mistakes as Walsall Draw With Stevenage

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken to the local press following Saturday's goalless draw with Stevenage and admitted he should have made more changes to his team coming off the back of the midweek Emirates FA Cup - First Round replay victory over Darlington.
Clarke made three changes to that side for Saturday's clash with the bottom-of-the-table Boro as Dan Scarr, Alfie Bates, and Shay Facey replaced Mat Sadler, Cameron Norman, and Gary Liddle.

Walsall started the match in lacklustre fashion, allowing their visitors to dictate much of the opening play, forcing the gaffer, who has made no secret of his willingness to chop and change a poorly performing team, into a double change at half-time.

And after claiming the share of the points was probably a fair result, the Mansfield-born boss went on to admit he should have made more changes to freshen up his side, as they struggled to make an impact, especially in the opening forty-five minutes.

Speaking to the assembled media, Darrell said; "I thought we were miles off in the wide areas in the first half. We were very ineffective in our shape, they put three high up the pitch and we didn't release our full-backs enough.

"That was disappointing but it sometimes can happen. I probably wish I made a few more changes to be honest but I thought I'd go with a bit of momentum and not make too many changes.

"You're forever learning as a manager. I see games and I always go with my gut instinct of what I think needs to change. I have no problem changing things if I don't think things are working or one or two lads are not having a good game.

"The lads know how I work, they're getting used to the way I work. That's the way they've got to work, they have to get used to that. And they are to be fair to them.

"There's no scapegoats here, we just get on with our work. You have to be brave as a manager to change it if things aren't working well."

The one positive to arise from the game was the clean sheet which takes the Saddlers' tally to ten in all competitions so far this season, and Clarke praised his squad for their improved defensive work, but admitted more was still needed.

Darrell continued; "If we assess where we are after the games we’ve played, ten clean sheets is testament to the hard working nature of the group. But we have to be better at times with the tempo of our play and our passing.

"I said to the lads that I feel like I’m coaching them every minute. You have to do that sometimes with a developing group but I thought one or two players were way off the game.

"That can happen as well so we’ll pick them up and try and take the positives out the week. And build towards a couple of cup games coming up."
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