Souness fumes at Clarke as Scotland are “a team from the past” in Euros exit

Graeme Souness felt that Steve Clarke’s tactics were out of date as Scotland lost 3-1 to Croatia to exit Euro 2020.

Off the back of their impressive goalless draw with England at Wembley, the Scots knew that a win at Hampden Park would send them through to the last-16.

However, after Callum McGregor had cancelled out a Nikola Vlasic goal to make the score 1-1 at half-time, a brilliant Luka Modric strike and then Ivan Perisic’s header sealed victory for the Croatians, who finish second behind England in Group D.

Speaking on ITV after the match, Souness said he felt Clarke’s approach was wrong.

“I’d like to have changed things in the second half,” he said.

“The plan in the first half clearly wasn’t working – they had 68 per cent possession.

“I’d have taken a striker off and tried to get a bit more possession in midfield and build from there.

Souness was disappointed with Scotland’s display

“We went too long at times, we tried to hit Lyndon Dykes too often. It was tactics from the past, it made us look like a team from the past.

“I get it. The manager has a group of players and it’s up to him to come up with a way of playing that gets the best out of those players, but I’d like the manager to have changed things in the second half.

“He put (Nathan) Patterson on with seven or eight minutes to go but that’s not going to affect the game.

“We had problems down the right hand side with (Stephen) O’Donnell all night. He could have done better for the first goal and the third goal.

“So I’m disappointed, but it’s not totally unexpected, because this Croatia team are a really good side when they get on the front foot.”

The pundit felt the Scots played long to Lyndon Dykes too often
The pundit felt the Scots played long to Lyndon Dykes too often

Souness couldn’t hide his disappointment as he continued to criticise the Scots.

“Okay you start with the same team for the second half. But if you’re struggling, you change it,” he said.

“It was more of the same and he didn’t change until 70 minutes.

“I don’t want to be down on my nation but I am disappointed after the England game.

“It was football from another age. You need to play football. Our defence was launching it, bypassing the midfield.

“We have to play more football if we’re going to progress.

“We were like a team from another era. Sorry if that hurts.

“We have to up our game.

Clarke refused to be too critical of his players
Clarke refused to be too critical of his players

“We have a country mile to catch up.”

Clarke insists he and Scotland are looking to the future despite the exit.

He told BBC Radio Scotland: “I’m sad for the players. Waited a long time to get to a tournament and it was a good group of players that got us there.

“And over the course of the tournament there was a lot of good stuff but ultimately not the points we needed.

“Tonight we were against a team that are tournament hardened and they knew how to play the third game in a group and probably we didn’t. That’s why we’re going home and Croatia are going through.

“It was great for the fans to cheer the players at the end – it was great for the players to hear that.

“I think talking about being tournament ready – we didn’t get anything out the first game which meant we had to go to Wembley and expend a lot of energy physically and mentally to give ourselves a chance and maybe we suffered for it in the third game.

“That’s something we can learn for the next tournament – I promise you it won’t be 23 years until the next one.”

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