Clark questions players and sends out ‘passenger’ warning

Lee Clark
Lee Clark
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Lee Clark said it’s time his players took responsibility for Blackpool’s plight and warned he won’t tolerate passengers.

The Seasiders head to Birmingham tomorrow for another attempt to kick-start a miraculous Championship survival bid.

Manager Clark was furious following Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat by Wigan, which left Pool 15 points from safety.

Clark said: “You can’t carry passengers in the Championship, you just can’t. The game is changing.

“People keep asking how I will lift the players now. Well, when I was playing the first people the fans would ask questions of were the players. Now the manager gets the brunt of it, whether he’s been here one week or 10 years.”

Clark says Wigan’s third goal highlighted areas where his side needs to improve urgently. “That goal came from our corner. We got hit on a counter-attack,” he said.

“When something doesn’t drop for us, we can’t stand with our arms aloft appealing.

“We should have everyone sprinting back. I can tell you which players were sprinting, which were at three-quarter pace or only at half-pace.

“I’m having to shout at players to run back at full pace. That summed up the game.”

Having hinted at the weekend that results could have put his job on the line, Clark took a short break in Newcastle before returning for training yesterday afternoon.

He explained: “I’ve still got the fight but after the Wigan game I was unbelievably down. It was a while since I’d seen my family, so I went back home to try to get refocused.

“Before the fans think I was taking days off, I wasn’t – I was still working.”

One of the main areas Clark discussed with his players on his return yesterday was defending, after fellow strugglers Wigan were allowed to score too easily. Clark added: “Believe it or not, we work on defence on the training ground but in games we aren’t defending well enough.

“When you’re conceding the sort of goals we are, you’re never going to win.

“The three wins we’ve had have been with clean sheets and that’s how you win.”

But Clark insists he won’t be heading to St Andrew’s tomorrow with a negative attitude. He insisted: “I want the players to express themselves and be in positive positions.

“It’s not that I’m not unleashing them – I’m trying to in the majority of the games and am playing with two strikers.

“They seem to be playing with fear but we want them to play on the front foot. Hopefully we can at Birmingham.”