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Steve Clarke responds to Rodri criticism as Spain and Scotland meet again

Nature
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Teve Clarke believes Scotland’s peak performance against Spain on Thursday night will be enough to earn them at least the point they need to qualify for Euro 2024.

The Scots have won their opening five qualifying matches, including a 2-0 win over Spain at Hampden Park in March.

Scotland are six points clear of Luis de la Fuente’s side at the top of the table and will qualify for next summer’s finals in Germany if they avoid defeat in Seville or Norway fail to beat Cyprus the same evening.

Scotland host Georgia away and Norway at home in November to end their campaign.

Clarke said: “Confidence will be part of it, we obviously have to get the tactics right. The players have to put into practice on the pitch what we talked about on the training pitch.

“They have to play to the maximum and confidence is also part of that.

“We have to play our game the best we can and I think that will be enough to get something out of the game.

“They’re a very good team. Obviously they won the Nations League this summer.

“I think when we played them in March, they were probably in a bit of a transition from the old coach to the new coach.

“They’ve had a disappointing World Cup campaign so maybe we got them at the right time in March. We know we have to be very good to get a positive result tomorrow night.

“I think we have consistently improved during my tenure as head coach.

“We are constantly improving, striving to improve, trying to add little elements to our game that will make us more competitive against the top teams, but we understand we still have a little way to go. “

“But we don’t come here thinking we have to sit there and defend all night.

“We have to be as efficient with the ball as we were at Hampden. We want to get the job done as quickly as possible.

“If we are good enough to achieve that tomorrow night that would be great. If not, we still have two chances in November and we have those chances because we started the group so well.

“We have 15 points in five games, it’s a good start.

Manchester City and Spain midfielder Rodri has criticized Scotland’s performance.

/ Getty Images

“We know we need to score more points to cross the finish line. Do I think this team will finish the group with 15 points? No, I think we will score more points. Whether it’s tomorrow or in November.”

Clarke was diplomatic when asked about Spain captain Rodri, who claimed the way Scotland had played at Hampden was “rubbish”, accusing them of wasting time, provoking his teammates and fall.

The former Kilmarnock boss said: “I don’t even remember what he said, to be honest. It’s not something I got involved in.

“This match was in March, it’s October. A totally different match.”

Nature
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