Ange Postecoglou has a style he wants this team to play. I refuse to believe that what we watched today bears any resemblance to that style.
What we watched today was the same old tried crap we watched for two years under Lennon; football with a lot of possession that goes nowhere, and where we are overly dependent on a moment of magic to break down a disciplined defence.
So I agreed with Ange tonight when he said that this was the first time this season we’ve failed to play “his” football.
Most people online seem to grasp the self-defeating nature of what we did. I got sick of hearing Lennon say, after these games, that we had played well and on another day could have won. At least this guy didn’t waste our time with any of that bullshit.
Ange offered one clue, one big clue, that he saw what we all did. That’s a step beyond Lennon anyway, who either couldn’t see the problem or didn’t know how to fix it.
“We tried hard enough but our decision making in the final third was pretty poor,” Ange said, which is exactly what we needed to hear. He does recognise the nature of the problem even if he didn’t spell it out. But this is what he means just the same.
But still, I’m worried. He sat and watched us doing that today.
I was furious at half time because we spent the whole first half playing those same high balls into their box, to no positive end; within minutes of the restart it was obvious we would continue to, so I’m not so much concerned with what was said at half time than I am with what wasn’t.
If we continue playing that way, we will be lucky to still be in the title race at Christmas. And not because our rivals are any great shakes because they aren’t. We will simply drop too many points to stay in it, because even on a day when they fail to win at home they’ve moved another one in front of us. Needless to say, this is untenable.
This man needs to hammer his ideas across to these players, and fast.
One of them – Jota – is still relatively new to the team, so he can be excused for now in the hope that he gets it quickly. Abada, likewise, is playing his first game against a system designed to thwart wingers … he also needs to start adjusting himself to doing things a little differently.
Ajeti, I find it hard to blame. Edouard struggled as a solo striker in these games, even when he was playing well and scoring goals.
Unless we had Michael Jordan up front today any player was going to struggle to gain purchase when nearly every ball into him was to his head and not to his feet. On a day like this you run at a defence, not try to pass over or through them.
Had Abada and Jota done that, had our central midfielders moved when not on the ball, we’d have had that.
The manager is frustrated and angry because he knows it.
The sooner this team instinctively does those things, the sooner it breaks the lazy habit of playing lazy one dimensional football, the better off we’ll all be … and it has to happen quickly.
We cannot afford days like this, not anymore.