Disclaimer: This was meant to be a short and bullet pointed tantrum but it turned into a full-on stroppy rant and I apologise….my 10 things I’d say to Steve McClaren.
Following the last two games in three days I’ll keep my summary simple, as I’m sure you know what’s about to come, but here we go.
(1) Losing to Everton was galling, because of the way we lost rather than the way we played. Losing to the last touch of the match is frustrating. We didn’t play well and got unlucky.
(2) The performance wasn’t good enough regardless of the result and we weren’t unlucky. We didn’t play well and were lucky to still be in the game in the 93rd minute. In that match, one shot on target says it all.
The performance was not “magnificent” as Steve McClaren called it. If they had finished their chances it would have been a mauling.
(3) Blaming Mitrovic and De Jong for our failure to pick up points against Villa and Everton respectively is unfair. They are low on confidence and only giving them one proper chance per game means they have to have the clinical ability of a twenty goals a season striker. They don’t have those skills.
Mitrovic is a young guy learning his trade, and as for De Jong, we’ve ruined him. The bloke has no confidence and has started a handful of games. They don’t deserve the blame they’re getting.
(4) That said, someone needs to tell Mitrovic that he won’t win a ball in the air unless he jumps for it. Backing into Premiership centre-halves and hoping they back off won’t cut the mustard son.
(5) The long ball tactics when we are behind in games is as embarrassing as it is poor. We don’t have the players to play that game so think of a better plan B.
(6) In fact, before Steve worries about a plan B, we should focus on a plan A. Playing for a point in games we have to win is the reason we will go down this year.
In the Everton game our plan was to play on the break with Sissoko – most of our attacking play went down his side of the pitch against Everton and it was a similar statistic against West Brom. Interestingly only 10% went down the left. And people wonder why Gini floats in and out of games. It’s because he doesn’t get the ball in areas of the pitch where he can do some damage.
That plan also relies totally on us keeping a clean sheet. We’ve conceded more goals in the premier league than everyone other than Sunderland. That can’t be the plan.
(7) As I mentioned last week, playing with two holding midfielders is not effective. They are doing the same job as one another and as a consequence, it completely slows us down going forward. Try playing players where they were bought to play. Gini was the Dutch player of the year playing central midfield. Play him there.
(8) Playing our best player (Sissoko in my opinion. Not that he plays like he’s our best player, but you know what I mean…..) out of position just because he’s fast is insane.
For his many faults, Sissoko has the attributes to be a very good footballer. Fast, strong, good on the ball and an excellent passer of the ball. To get the best from him, play him where he should be playing.
(9) Don’t buy a player, give him four minutes at the end of each match, and be surprised that he can’t turn the game around. Thauvin is not the saviour by any means, but he needs a chance in games.
(10) The current starting line up isn’t working. Clearly. Play wingers out wide, central midfielders in the middle of the pitch and a left back on the left hand side of defence. Try that and see what happens in the next two games. Everyone expects us to lose, so the worst we can do is lose. Give it a go and see what happens. At least everyone will see you’re willing to look for ways to get us out of the rut we’re in. If not, well, we’re going down. It’s simple.
Doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results, is the definition of madness. Einstein said that.
It doesn’t take Albert to point out than unless something changes, the manager will go and so will we. To the Championship.
The players don’t deserve the support they’re getting. Well done to everyone who went to West Brom and sung their hearts out. The players don’t deserve the support they’re getting from our magnificent fans.
As far as I can see, the fan loyalty and passion is the only thing going for the club at the moment.
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