Former Shimizu S-Pulse utility Mitchell Duke has revealed he fully expected Sunday’s exit of Australian rookie head coach Peter Cklamovski, saying the only surprise was how long his compatriot survived at the battling J.League outfit in the first place.
Three wins from 25 games set the stage for the demise of the former Socceroos and Yokohama F. Marinos assistant, who fell on his sword when the support of the Shimizu hierarchy finally evaporated.
Saudi Arabia-based Duke, who spent four years at Shimizu, closely followed Cklamovski’s fortunes as he stepped out from beneath the coattails of Ange Postecoglou at title-winning Yokohama to take charge of the perennial survival fighters.
Duke believes only the suspension of relegation this season in response to the coronavirus disruption allowed Cklamovski, 42, to linger.
“As hard as it is to say I’m surprised he lasted this long with the results he was getting,” Duke told The World Game.
“Shimizu is a team with a proud history and they don’t want to get a reputation of being a team which loses so consistently.
“I think with no relegation this year the club gave him a bit more of a chance to instil his philosophy and playing style.
“But they just couldn’t get it together.
“It’s a shame because you always want to see Aussie coaches is doing well.
“But it was always going to be a challenge to instil Ange’s playing style at Shimizu who are a very different type of club to Yokohama.
“I’m sure also that at Yokohama Ange and Pete had more to work with in terms of quality
“I was at Shimizu for four years and we went through four coaches in my time. It can be a tough place.”
Cklamovski said in a statement he had “no more to give”, admitting the team had fallen short in terms of results to slide to second bottom of the J1 table.
“I’ve given the club everything I’ve got and had no more to give," he said.
"I started the S-Pulse chapter with the club objective behind it to create an attacking brand of football that is possession-based and not reactive, which it has been for over a decade.
“I made a significant impact to this and hopefully this is a base for the club to move forward with.
“Every decision I made this season was based on bringing a trophy to the club in 2021. “We built strong foundations of football and we tried to take our game to opponents in every match we played.
"In the end, we fell short with results but the football style was evident, players gave it everything they had but we weren’t good enough in both boxes."
Cklamovski sought to sprinkle on Shimizu the fairy dust that had worked miracles at Yokohama last season, but the magic simply couldn’t be duplicated by Postecoglou’s dutiful disciple.
“S.Pulse has always been a bit of a survival club and it’s a building process,” added Duke.
“To introduce Ange’s style of possession play was never going to be easy.
“Perhaps they just weren’t ready for such a big change.
“It’s a club that gives people a chance to prove themselves and you have to give them credit for that.
“They’re willing to try anything to turn their luck around and once again it hasn’t really worked out.
“Pete Cklamovski would have been up against it as soon as he stepped inside the door.
“You can’t just turn around a team like that overnight.
“The way they were trying to play was always a bit risky and teams in Japan will punish you if you play out from the back and make mistakes in doing so.
“You’re going to throw away a lot of games that way against quality opposition.
“If there had been relegation I think it’s unlikely he’d have got more than half a season.
“The club were hoping the success he enjoyed with Ange at Yokohama would rub off.”