21 days into the month, I felt compelled to comment on February so far. It’s been alright hasn’t it?
Since the Blackpool game (when we were all questioning Coleman’s motives and ambition) there’s been a noticeable shift in attitude around the club. While Coleman spent January talking down our prospects, the talk this month has changed and there’s far more determination and belief about our performances too.
The interviews going into the Forest game were particularly refreshing, as they were all I’d been hoping to hear the entire season. Oggy obviously realised that cowering and pandering to teams in pre-match interviews was only giving them the advantage, so came out with some fighting talk. Nothing crazy, but just enough to make everyone realise that we weren’t going into it playing for a draw for once. And the players appeared to respond, because we ended up putting in our best performance of the season. In the words of Richie Bernau, “marvellous stuff there”.
And with 10 points out of a possible 15, it seems we’ve now told losses and draws to bugger off (in the main) and realised that wins are far better.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Coventry
Newcastle 4-1 Coventry
Coventry 1-0 QPR
Coventry 1-0 Nottm Forest
Bristol City 1-1 Coventry
The most telling thing recently is that while we’ve continued to take the lead in every single game, we’re now managing to show some steel and get the points from the games too. Here’s a stat; we’ve taken the lead 19 times in the league this season.. Newcastle have taken the lead in 20. To me, that can’t be just a fluke. I’m just glad that we’re now starting to believe in ourselves and realising that with some organisation and positive tactics, we can actually beat these teams.
Just to reiterate the relative unimportance of draws. You see how we lost to Newcastle (as everyone is), then beat Palace a few days later, having gone for the win in both games? How many people would have taken 2 draws before those? We all would have wouldn’t we, mainly cos it sounds good – 2 games unbeaten blah blah.
Fact it though, it’s all about 3 points in the Championship. Ipswich will tell you that. They’ve lost far less than anyone else in the bottom half, but they’re still fighting a relegation battle, simply because they’ve drawn too many.
A loss followed by a win will always leave you better off. 3 points plays 2.
I’m just mighty glad to see the attitude has changed recently, and unsurprisingly this has coincided with decent a climb up the table.
We just need to guard against complacency though, that’s our biggest enemy. We had that great run last February, and we all started talking about play-offs. But that soon fell apart, so we need to make sure we maintain the same levels of positivity, concentration, determination and effort so we can finish the season on a high.
We’re playing the bottom 3 in the next 3 games – we couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to really thrust ourselves up the league even more.
I know we’re often scared to talk about winning runs because we’ve been burnt before, but I think it’s time the players and manager forgot about guarding against failure and go for it. Like we always say, if they at least give it a go, we’ll be happy with that. What we don’t want is negative interviews, tactics and targets of mediocre league finishes. They simply don’t work for us.
We’re not the finished article but you don’t take the lead in 19 games (21 if you count the cups) if you’re a bad team, do you?