Threw that one away, good and proper.

A very familiar story: Take the lead, dominate the first half, manager sticks his nose in, performance totally changes, team gets overrun, manager can’t be arsed to change it until it’s too late, team rallies ever so slightly in the final minute to make it look a little more acceptable, manager blames result on the fact that we looked tired.

One thing Chris – if we’re so tired, why don’t you think about freshening it up earlier then? Rather than always waiting until after the damage is done, you repetitive swine.

Now, you’ll probably ask, “Weren’t you praising Coleman after the last game?”

And yes, yes I was. Because his management was to my liking. He showed ingenuity and flair in his tactics in that game, so he deserved it.

But I’m growing increasingly fed up of hearing the same excuses when things don’t work, and mistakes are obviously made. Admit the problems, identify the issues, and address them in time for the next game.

Tiredness is never a factor when we win, so I don’t quite understand why it suddenly comes into it when we lose? He got it right on Tuesday, and was quite happy to take the plaudits then. The least he could do is come up with something a bit more constructive than “I think we were tired from Tuesday, we were affected by that, unfortunately”.

Preston played on Tuesday too, you know. And besides, all we did on Tuesday was compete how we should be competing in every game. If that is too strenuous for us, then we have some real issues.

Even if that was the case, things don’t quite add up. We had Elliott Ward, Freddy Eastwood, Aron Gunnarsson, Ashley Cain, Jordan Clarke, Jermaine Grandison all on the bench too. That’s two £1million plus signings, an Icelandic international and supposed wonderkid, as well as 3 very promising youngsters. (One’s an England Under-19 full back, no less). There is more than enough scope to change it if you spot the performance level’s dropping, or even if some players are getting “tired”.

Preston and Sheffield Utd both had 6-man benches against us, so we had an immediate numerical advantage. They used their subs to try and change the game to their advantage though. For once we have to stop hiding behind tame excuses, and focus on the actual problems.

We’re good enough to dominate teams for prolonged periods, we’ve shown that. We’re good enough to take the lead. But for some reason, we can’t sustain a performance.

The team came out after half time with a total lack of focus. The defence crumbled under the pressure. It was like they were shocked that Preston upped their game. That was very naive.

Our “inconsistency” has become so consistent, that contrary to my earlier post, this actually makes us very predictable. (Note the borderline irony). How you address that, lord only knows. It’s not like it’s a problem unique to Coleman’s time at the club. It’s been like it for years.

So, if previous inconsistency is any sort of benchmark, we’re probably going to grab a draw against Boro on Saturday. That seems to be the pattern, and the continuation of that will see us to mid-table obscurity right the way up until May.

Back to Saturday though, and there weren’t many positives. But I’d like to congratulate Sammy on his free-kick. It was an absolute belter, make no mistake. If you haven’t seen it, as with Leon’s the other day, I’d highly recommend giving it a look on the BBC website tomorrow.

The return of Elliott Ward to the pitch is also something I’m happy about. Debate is rife about what Wardy’s role in the team should be, but for me there’s no question. He’s first team all the way. I have no problem with any of the defenders in terms of their place in the squad, but it’s not like we’re excelling in that department at the minute. Ward could we be the person to come and sure things up on the pitch, even if some people don’t like that he actually likes to play football sometimes, as opposed to smashing it up field every time.

Aside from that, Clinton continuing his goalscoring form is another bonus, I suppose. Even if it was ludicrously late, it should be good for him. If he’s not scoring he’s just going to be pissed off at everyone. Saying that, his mood is usually the same whether he’s scored or he hasn’t, so it probably won’t make the blind bit of difference.

Right, that’s enough of me trying to draw clever conclusions from our erratic football club. As far as I can see, I’ve only managed to deduce one thing anyway:-

I think we need to learn how to win more than one game on the trot.

Yeah, it’s that simple.

 

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