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Steve Clarke needs ‘time to build something great’, says Lukaku

The Inter Milan striker scored in Belgium’s 4-0 win at Hampden.

Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has given his backing to Scotland boss Steve Clarke (Graham Stuart/PA).
Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has given his backing to Scotland boss Steve Clarke (Graham Stuart/PA).

By PA Sport Staff

Romelu Lukaku insists Scotland boss Steve Clarke will “figure it out” as the inquest into the 4-0 defeat by Belgium on Monday night continues.

The Inter Milan striker opened the scoring in the ninth minute of the Euro 2020 qualifier at Hampden Park and from then on the Group I leaders were in command, with further goals from Thomas Vermaelen, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin De Bruyne completing the rout.

Clarke only took over in the summer and has lost three out of four qualifiers, including a 3-0 defeat in Brussels in June.

The Scots sit in fifth place in the table and have to look at the Nations League play-off in March as a means of qualifying for the European Championships next summer.

While Clarke is beginning to feel the heat of the Scotland job, the former Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United striker offered hope, saying: “I think you should give Steve Clarke the time, give him the time to build something great.

“That’s what you have to do with a great manager, a great coach like Steve.

“He is going to figure it out.

“You guys have a lot of young talent that I like, but it is about him getting the time to build something great.

“Now it is about doing the best to win the upcoming games, but just give him the time and I think he will do something great.

“It was important to score early and then try to kill the game and that’s what we did.

“We scored another two in quick succession and then controlled the game.

“Even though we were pressing us and they were the better side for the first 15 minutes, we were really fast on the counter and scored the goal.

“From then on we controlled the ball and tried to play the football that we play.

“We could have scored more than four but we have to be happy with the result.”

Lukaku, who took his international goal tally to 49, praised the contribution of former Scotland international Shaun Maloney, who joined the Red Devils, ranked number one in the world, as a coach last year.

He said: “His eye for detail is really great.

“He does the tactics for us and helps us with that.

“I used to do the finishing drills with Thierry Henry or Graeme Jones but now I do it with Shaun.

“You can see he really wants me to improve. I like how we work together it has been great since he came in.

“He enjoys it, we enjoy it, so it is good.”

PA

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