It wasn’t until nine o’clock on Sunday night that I was fully able to articulate my feelings about that afternoon’s disaster. I had kept my head in post match analysis with a friend who has greater things on her mind than a football result, but when I spoke to Peter Horan on the phone all the anger and frustration came out.
He sat and listened patiently while I launched into a series of expletives that would have done Chubby Brown and Richard Nixon proud.
The gist of it was that were useless, spineless and, deservedly, pointless.
Two years ago, with a team that cost next to nothing, we could at least walk out of SJP with our heads up after giving them a game. This time, we should be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves after surrendering to a team who are a long way of being a good side, but beat us comfortably.
I find it hard to understand how a man like Roy Keane who, throughout his playing career, feared no one can be so timid as a manager.
Here is a man who took on his national association and his national team manager, thumped Shearer at SJP and has muscled his way through a highly successful playing career, yet shows a lack of willingness to go on the attack as a manager.
I’m sure that he would say that he had lost his two best defenders to injury and that he needed to protect his back four. I’m sure that he would say that we need a strong midfield to negate Beavis and Butthead and stifle them. I’m sure that he would say that if we stop them getting the ball forward to their three “star” forwards, we can catch them on the break and expose their sloppy and shoddy defence.
But he’s wrong, wrong, wrong. All of this gives the initiative to them. Would he have played a midfield five if Evans and Bardsley had been fit? I doubt it.
By doing so, he indicates that he doesn’t really trust their replacements (justifiably, as events turned out). By leaving Jones up front on his own, it means that their defenders can concentrate on him. Once again, he ran0 his socks off, but the only support he was given in the first half was Andy Reid – not the quickest player we have. That’s a role for Richardson or O’Donovan.
Awful mistakes gave them two easy goals and we never looked like putting them under pressure. Richardson made some inroads but why wait for 80 minutes before sending Chopra on?
Games cannot be won if we do not attack. We won at Villa and Fulham because we attacked and took the game to them. Has there been one occasion this season when 4-5-1 has actually brought any positive results?
What on earth are we frightened of? When Roosevelt became President in 1933 he attacked the Depression by saying: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. His role was to stop people from being afraid and to be positive. We have got stuck in this mindset of being frightened of losing so we play deep and try to stop the opposition.
This negativity has brought us nothing at Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Blackburn, Tottenham etc etc. The only positives we have brought to many Premier League games is our support – and that will dwindle unless we can accentuate the positive. We want to see Jones and Chopra going forward, not spend £30m+ to see a defensive midfield of Whitehead, Miller and Murphy.
Derby defeats always cause much soul searching. We have to put up with the gloating Mags for at least four months before (hopefully) we can have another go at them. We should be safe but I would think that Sheffield United said the same 12 months ago. The way we have played in the last two games, we will do well to pick up any more points this season so we need to hope that Birmingham fail to recover from their disaster at Villa Park. At least we didn’t lose 5-1.