Stark looks to copy Fergie motivation

PA Sport
Billy Stark must lift his players after the disappointment of missing out on the Euro 2013 finals
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Billy Stark must lift his players after the disappointment of missing out on the Euro 2013 finals

Scotland Under-21 manager Billy Stark wants his players to use a Sir Alex Ferguson method of motivation to recover from last month's European Championship disappointment.

The young Scots lost 3-2 in injury-time in Austria on September 10 as their European qualifying hopes ended with their first defeat of the campaign. Too many draws in Group 10 meant Stark's side did not finish among the four best runners-up ahead of next summer's finals in Israel.

A new-look Under-21 squad assembled in Clydebank on Wednesday ahead of the trip to Spain for friendly games against their USA and Canada counterparts on Friday and Monday respectively, but those who have remained from the last campaign will be told by Stark to look at the message sent out by the Manchester United manager at the end of last season.

After losing their Premier League crown to neighbours Manchester City on the last day, despite beating Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, Ferguson used the trip back from Wearside to urge his young players to remember their feelings of disappointment and use it as motivation for the future.

Former Aberdeen midfielder Stark, who played under Ferguson at Pittodrie, is looking for those players still eligible for the next campaign to adopt a similar attitude.

"You can't mention Fergie in the same breath as players like Ryan Jack, Stuart Armstrong and Jordan Archer, those players who lived through the last campaign," he told Press Association Sport.

"But he (Fergie) said to his young players going back on the bus after losing the title on the last day at Sunderland, when Manchester City scored in the last minute (against QPR to win it), don't hide from it, embrace the feelings that you have got and make sure it doesn't happen again.

"That's what we will try to do with those players whom we are looking to use for their experience. But also, they need to bounce back and say 'we are lucky because we have another shot at it' whereas the others don't."

Stark admits he has yet to recover from the disappointment of the last campaign.

"I would be a liar if I said I had totally forgotten about it," he said. "It is something that eats away at you. You get that in football and you have to learn to deal with it. I was particularly disappointed for the players, I thought they deserved better and they were absolutely heartbroken after that game in Austria."

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