Barnsley FC: Darrell Clarke on inspiration from Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino

DARRELL Clarke wears his heart on his sleeve and is someone who has always prided himself on his honesty, straightforwardness and ‘human’ qualities.

One thing that his Barnsley players will also quickly realise is that he is not a dictator, with his door always being open.

He is prepared to listen with man-management being a quality that he considers to be hugely important, it not the most important facet of management.

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The former Cheltenham, Bristol Rovers and Port Vale chief is busy getting his feet under the table at Oakwell as he establishes working relationships with his players and staff ahead of the new season.

Barnsley head coach Darrell Clarke. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.Barnsley head coach Darrell Clarke. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.
Barnsley head coach Darrell Clarke. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.

Unlike many new head coaches/managers, he soon expressed his happiness to work with existing coaches already at the club and the fact that he has not brought in an entourage of backroom members provides an early indicator regarding his personality, openness and accessibility.

His camp will hopefully be not just a successful one, but a happy one too.

Clarke commented: “For me, the modern-day coach, it is more than just a tactics board.

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"You look at the Jurgen Klopps and Pochettino’s of this world, they are fantastic coaches but their man-management side of it is second to none.“Mentality is so big and important in your football club. At times, there’s some head coaches who struggle with that side of it, if that makes sense. It’s (about) the ones who have it all.

"In every division, life is a challenge isn’t it. Football is a challenge and for me as head coach of Barnsley, I am prepared to meet those challenges head on.

"I get the high expectations, but trust me, nobody wants to win more than me and set any more higher expectations than I do and what my players want and what I want from my players. It becomes part and parcel of the job.”

Flexible in terms of being willing to work with new sets of staff, Clarke is similarly adaptable when it comes to playing style.

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Front-foot football is at the core of his philosophy, but being pragmatic where it is necessary will also come into his thinking.

He continued: “First of all, it’s about winning. The importance of the game is to win games, but we have an expectation here with a big fanbase and we want to play football on the front foot, pressing high, counter-pressing, getting balls into the box and creating opportunities.

"We are here to entertain our fans as well. I’ve had to be adaptable in all the football clubs I have managed in the past.

"If you are going on a Darrell Clarke philosophy, if you are working with Cheltenham with the smallest budget in the league, you have got to find different ways of winning football games.

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"At Barnsley, it is going to be totally different and we are going to be up there competing with the top-end teams where we should be. We will get a plan in place to make sure that happens.”

The Reds are in pre-season action at Alfreton on Saturday and visit Accrington the following weekend.