Yesterday highlighted (again) just how much we are lacking in our set pieces. Freeman delivered dangerous balls and Flint was constantly on the move leading Berra a merry dance. Can't remember too many goals from set pieces this season for us and whilst some get a bit excited by Bru, his delivery is so hit and miss. Maybe Pringle might improve on this but a bit of real movement in the box might help too. Have we scored a direct free kick this season either?
I was there today and we were beaten 3 by a rival team away from home. Two volleys from outside the box did for us after a sending off which looked justified to me. We matched them pretty much throughout and showed real spirit second half. The away end remained buoyant throughout, singing even at 3 down. This was nothing like the mullering we got at Hull. With eleven on the pitch 2nd half, we would have got something I reckon. We will play far worse than that and win. A defeat disappoints me but some of the comments on here are ridiculous and just don't reflect the atmosphere in the crowd at the game.
I know they can sometimes catch a team napping (us at Boro twice last season) but it's so frustrating when we ultimately fail to get the ball in the box. Happened a couple of times yesterday and it's such a bloody waste for me.
Whilst by full time last night we were rightly defeated, we could have got our noses infront and possibly deserved to be at half time. That would have made for a different game and just maybe we could have won the game. With the results today, we would have been just 4 points off fourth! Lots of ifs and coulds I know but the assumption that the top five places are already in the bag is just nonesense for me.
I know it's unpopular with many on here (and an obsession for others) to crticise Gerken but let's be honest, what is he doing for the first goal? For goodness sake man, it's floated across your goal five yards out but you are rooted to the line. It was a keeper's ball 100% and that's why Tommy is caught on his heels. Dear oh dear Deano. Many will blame Tommy. They are wrong. Oh but he is a great shot stopper lest I forget!
Just a pity we could not hang on. Deja vu from last year. Gerkin just cannot get it right. Crosses go into his six yatd box and he is rooted to his line. Suddenly there is one 9 yards out, defenders in position and out he comes, clatters his own defender and punches down into the ground instead of wide, high and long. Some will point to two decent stops in the first half. That's all very well but his inability to command the defence is totally destabilisng. Bru makes a big difference and Douglas looked far more competent alongside him when he came on than he has when partnered with Skuse. Murph might just be turning a corner but he still looks only 70% of the player he was last year. Berra looking better. Great support, vocal and lively despite what I thought was some over zealous stewarding when we scored. Glad I went, was seriously considering giving it a miss after Blackburn and Hull.
Chambo's distribution was appalling. Knudsen just constantly caught out of position and Parr basically brushed off the ball too easily. We are too slow to move the ball and simply don't know the meaning of a swift counter attack. Murphy not at the races and currently the word lumbering aptly describes his form. For all his running, Toure has less end product than Lee Martin. Maitland-Niles is still lightweight. On the positive side, Bru will improve us, Douglas more effective without Skuse (but Skuse is the better player). Been to Blackburn and Hull and we have shadow boxed our way through both games. Tough times but will be at Forest on Saturday nevertheless.
Something isn't right. Either Mick doesn't think he is fit or he doesn't think his head is right. His comments on Douglas are just bluster. That central midfield partnership makes me yearn for the energy of Hyam ffs!
The Germans break with such pace and players move from defence into attack when the opportunity presents itself seemingly without exposing the side defensively. All about great movement off the ball too.
Who would have believed that these two players, our star performers over the last few seasons, are currently letting the side down so badly. Both are ponderous and their touch is poor. It was so odd to see Berra bullied by Rhodes physically and Murph plodding around looking almost lost. Every time Blackburn got the ball they broke with pace. Quite simply, we had no pace and it was embarrassing to watch
Much is being said of Berra's form right now. From the mainstay of the team, in the eyes of some his place is in question. The slip against Birmingham was unfortunate for me and he was undoubtedly caught on his heels for the second yesterday. However, if you watch the footage of that goal you may notice something I think is more telling about his current form and state of mind. Once the striker has beaten him, Christphe effectively gives up and stands still on the edge of the box. Had Gerken blocked it or the ball hit the woodwork etc, he would still have been nowhere near ready to pick up the pieces and clear the ball. I think that's very telling that his never say die approach just isn't quite there right now and something isn't quite right either physically or mentally.
No, not the dive from Byram late on but the blatant handball by Smith early on right infront of the Town fans and less than 15 yards away fro the clear line of sight of the lino. We all saw it and how he didn't flag I'll never know! Glad he didn't as it was a fine performance by Tommy (and all the boys) throughout. You got to ride your luck and make it count as Tommy did.
Wind him up and watch him go. He was magnificent in the second half and a constant threat. Maitland-Niles very impressive and both a hard worker and a cool head. All of back four outstanding. Tommy can take Wood out of his pocket now! Credit to Douglas too. He was effective with Skuse in protecting the back four after Friday's atrocious effort.
Not so long ago players were running down contracts and leaving for nothing. We seemed desperate to sign has beens and pay big sums both in fees and wages with "managers" bemoaning the troublesome location. Mick has turned all this around. Business is done quietly, the loan market is used judiciously and our best players are almost all tied to longer term contracts. Hope this serves as a lesson to Mr Evans and the club as a whole as to the importance of the right management team. This represents our best chance in a decade to have success and a longer term plan.