World Cup qualifying: Gordon Strachan looks to the future with Scotland
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan insists the prognosis is not all bleak ahead of the World Cup qualifier in Macedonia.
Last Updated: 09/09/13 5:31pm
The Scots are bottom of Group A and are on course for their worst-ever World Cup qualifying campaign, but Strachan is looking at the bigger picture as he looks to breathe fresh life into the national side.
He is focusing his attention on learning about his players and teaching them what he expects - instead of being obsessed with their standing in the section.
"This whole thing is all about getting to understand players better, which I am doing. They understand me better. I want to get to a state like a club side," Strachan told Sky Sports News.
"And to do that you need to know the players well. I'm getting to know the players who you can definitely rely on, no matter the circumstances.
"So I'm getting all that now, which is good. Better to get that now so I know in a year's time we will be ready.
"We are making progress as a group, getting to know each other, and understanding what the training means. It's quite intensive.
"I can work with winning and trying to win and I can work with trying to progress as well. You don't do one or another, you can do both.
"I keep hearing about rest, we have no time to rest. We have got to train and get ourselves together. I think at this time of year you can work a bit harder and quite intensive. They have only had one day off in eight days."
Reflecting on Friday's 2-0 defeat by Belgium, Strachan continued: "We took a lot of positives from the game and if I can tweak it here and tweak it there and add a few players to our squad we will be fine.
"We have not gone back the way. It has levelled out on that one. I actually think we had five, six, seven performances and there was one or two away from decent performances, a slip here and a slip there.
"If you don't perform or don't win, then you don't feel good and that's when you take a step backwards.
"But the bigger picture, we have to try people out and try things. We might as well do it now. There is no point doing things in a year's time that is confusing to the players.
"We get it sorted now and find a system that suits this group of players, plus maybe another four of five we can call on or who might force themselves in.
"We must get a squad that suits these players here. I feel more and more like when I say something the boys automatically know what I mean, what kind of shape we go into, the terminology we use. "