You know you’ve played badly when the biggest cheer of the afternoon comes 80 minutes into the match, after the opposing left back mis-times a clearance into the stand.

Yep. It’s a pretty easy blog to write this one, as the entire team was so poor it left me with only a few choice adjectives to describe the performance. I don’t think I can come up with a better word than “clueless”, though.

After the Ipswich game at home, spirits were high, and rightly so. The shape, confidence and attitude of the team seemed entirely different to what we’ve been used to in previous seasons. So, even though we’d flattered to deceive a few nights earlier against Doncaster, my mindset against Swansea was one of “nevermind, we’ll pick it up again”.

That (as so often is the case with Coventry) was pretty naive. The game yesterday bore no resemblance to the high-paced nature of the Ipswich game, and that was what disappointed me most.

Clingan, McIndoe and Van Aanholt, the new players who’d previously looked so assured, seemed to have inexplicably developed a case of the Michael Doyles. Passes were going all over the place, and this eventually spread throughout the team to become one big game of “pass the buck”.

All football fans have to be willing to accept that their team will lose games, and will have the odd blip. It’s something as a Coventry fan we’ve grown to accept as a given. The one thing that is difficult to accept however is when the team follows up one game where they’ve been totally outplayed and have underperformed, with an exact replica performance in the next.

I got home and read through what some people were saying in the forums. As usual, anybody questioning the team was immediately branded “fickle”.

This cliché is not something I agree with. I don’t think it is fickle to be annoyed when they perform in the manner they did yesterday. 4 games in or not, if we’re looking for any sort of consistency this season, it has to be addressed when there are signs that performance levels are dropping. That’s not fickle, that’s simply striving for the best. We are better than our performance yesterday showed.

I got involved in one thread, because while I don’t like outrageous statements and hysteria just because we’ve lost a game, I also find blind-faith and undue praise when the players themselves must know they have played poorly, just as detrimental.

Here’s an extract from my thoughts, or as I have fondly come to know it (in my head) – Rantathon 2009 :

“Get a Grip Guys!” ¦ IC Coventry Forums
alanmahon_uk wrote:

I agree, calling for the manager’s head and saying we’re now relegation fodder is over the top. But I think what we have to acknowledge is that we’ve just seen 2 wholly unacceptable performances in the space of a week.

As far as I can see, ignoring how poor we were against Doncaster and almost expecting us to be better today has led to an equally poor performance.

We didn’t learn any lessons from the other night. The first touch and anticipation by our players was awful. The passing was aimless and uninventive, and by the end of game individuals simply began hiding rather than digging in and forcing the issue. There was an air of complacency because we were back at home, rather than a determination to get back to winning ways.

I don’t think sensationalism after a couple of poor games is ever the way to go, but at the same time ignoring any performance which is as poor as the last two have been is very dangerous too.

The trouble we had last year was there was no pressure to succeed. If we had a bad game, the same old excuses would sound out about us only wanting to improve on the previous useless season. All that attitude will breed is an acceptance of mediocrity.

The accusation of being “fickle” is one that seems to be thrown at anyone who questions the team if they play poorly. The last 2 games have been very alike some of the nonsense we had to put with last season, and the one thing we can’t afford to do is to fall back into the trap of ignoring when things go poorly.

And that doesn’t mean calling for Coleman’s head or berating individuals after 4 games. It just means letting the players know that there is a certain level of performance we all know they’re capable of, and giving them the kick up the backside when like today, they fall way below that.

 

Listening to Coleman after the game, it sounds like his mindset is very similar. While he probably feels a duty to curb the fan’s expectation to a degree, I have a feeling he is expecting more this season than another tiny improvement. That’s the way it should be.

You only have to remember our performances against the top teams last season, as well as look at the teams that have gone up to the Premiership over the last couple of seasons, to see why most Championship clubs should be thinking the same.

They all show what is possible, so wiping out performances like the last couple is going to be key if we have any aspirations at all of following the likes of Burnley, Hull or Stoke this season.

Some of this might seem harsh, but since when has a team got anywhere in this league by being anything else.

Come on City, let’s go again…

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