Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Strachan positive despite growing pressure

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Nov 2016

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Scotland coach Gordon Strachan hopes a morale-boosting victory over England at Wembley can help ease the pressure beginning to build on his shoulders.

One victory in their last five matches has seen speculation grow over Strachan’s future with the national team, and a defeat to the ‘Auld Enemy’ could only weaken his position.

The former Celtic boss remains calm despite the added pressure and is confident his squad have what it takes to revive their World Cup qualifying campaign at Wembley.

“We’ve not been too pleased with the last two performances,” he told a media conference.

“Any game we’ve played after the last two, we are desperate to catch up and make up ground.

“This game is a chance to catch up. It’s a chance to feel better about myself. Over the past few years I haven’t felt decent about myself. It’s getting back to that level of feeling good about yourself.”

He added: “I have got a lot of good characters about the place – don’t worry about that. 

“As a manager you often think, ‘who is going to let me down?’, but not with this team. This is a great group of lads to work with. I never go to bed thinking someone is going to let
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me down and someone isn’t going to give me 100 per cent. 

“My players are intelligent enough to understand the fixture. The importance of the game is understood.”

Meanwhile, Scotland captain Darren Fletcher has looked to ease pressure by insisting the clash with Gareth Southgate’s side is not must-win despite the Scots sitting fourth in Group F.

“It’s a massive game in terms of our impact on the group,” said the West Brom midfielder. “We’re still involved, it is still quite tight. It’s not a must-win. 

“The group is still all to play for and a point would be a decent result for us, especially with games to come at home.

“We’ve come with a game plan to try and win and if we can get a result we’re still involved with big games coming up in 2017.”

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