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Interviews

Clark: We're not lacking confidence

18 November 2017

Simon Clark says there is no crisis of confidence in the under 18s ranks despite suffering consecutive defeats in recent weeks.

The young Magpies followed up their 3-1 loss in the FA Youth Cup at Chesterfield with a 2-0 reverse against Scunthorpe United last Saturday.

And, ahead of this weekend's game against Burton Albion, Clark believes a lack of organisation is contributing to their downfall rather than a dearth of belief within the team.

"It's not a confidence issue," he said. "It's more of an organisational issue - a tactical aspect of the game.

"For example, the first goal against Scunthorpe came from a throw-in and the players who should be organising and dragging others into position to prevent a ball from going to feet are not doing it. We tend to switch off in those type of situations.

"We have a young back four but they have to realise there is still work to be done even if the ball is out of play. We allow things to happen around us rather than taking control of our own players.

"The players worked really hard and created a good number of chances. In the period from half-time to conceding the second goal we were well on top. We're just not ruthless in both boxes at the minute. We're too easy to score against."

Despite having one of the best attacking records in the league, Clark's side find themselves with the worst defensive record, which he is determined to improve.

"We're the joint-leading goalscorers in the league but we have conceded the most goals. The problem we have is not through teams putting together sustained passing moves and opening us up, it's generally from naivety from the group.

"I'm an ex-defender so I hate conceding goals. We have done a lot of defensive work. We are young, but that is no excuse. It's about development, learning and not making the same errors.

"Kevin Nolan told some of the players during an under 23s match that if they make one mistake they have to ensure their next three or four actions are simple so they don't compound the error.

"It's something we're struggling with as a defensive unit at the minute," he admitted.


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