‘I got it wrong..’ Port Vale boss takes ownership of Sheffield Wednesday defeat and predicts where Owls finish
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The 45-year-old boss has led his team to a strong start to life in the division after promotion via the play-offs last time out and took responsibility for a choice of system he felt allowed the Owls to take clear control of the game in the first half.
He also predicted Wednesday would be there or thereabouts in the promotion stakes as the season prepares to turn into 2023.
“Listen, it was a tough game,” Clarke said on a clash that saw the home side draw level on points with second-placed Ipswich Town after their draw at Portsmouth.
“I’ll be honest, I picked the wrong formation to start the game with. We were a lot better second half with the change in shape so I’ll hold my hands up for that one.
“The lads gave us everything and we had opportunities at key moments in the game and haven’t quite taken them.”
Clarke continued: “When we went to a 3-4-3 we pressed, we harried, we got further up the pitch and we had more control. I’ll look at myself for that.
“But the players also understand that for all the formations, we can’t be as loose as we were at times today with the ball and not get punished against the better sides in the division.”
Tom Conlon conceded a first half penalty that was confidently tucked away by the bustling Smith, who used that confidence to score his sixth of the campaign with a stunning strike from outside the area.
“It looks a pen,” Clarke said. “Tom has no complaints and has apologised.
“They’ve shown their quality, you’re going to see why they’re going to finish in the top two or top three in the division, that’s for sure.
“If we’d have got an equaliser it may have changed the momentum of the game but that’s ifs, buts and maybes. It’s a tremendous strike with that bit of quality that he had and it’s a great finish.”