It’s with bleary eyes and a large coffee in front of me that I’m sitting here typing this out. Last night – actually in the small hours of this morning – we completed the AngeBall Aussie trip with a 0-0 draw against Everton in which I thought we were great.
Once again, it is a failure to finish the job that has cost us.
But let’s be honest, we’ve not paid a momentous price or anything. This was, after all, a friendly match and one in which we played a side from the EPL and looked fairly comfortable throughout.
The stats don’t lie, and they don’t do full justice to our domination. Everton barely got a sniff at the goal. They had zero shots on target until the penalty kicks. We comprehensively outplayed them without getting the reward for it.
Our tendency, now, to miss loads of chances is something that badly need to get out of our system. It cost us in Europe. It cost us against Sydney. It cost us this morning. But the football peripheral to it was spell-binding at times, particularly from Jota.
Initially, I thought we looked shaky.
We gave away possession too easily in midfield, we backed off when they had the ball and we were occasionally caught with the long ball forward. For all that, they never troubled the keeper once, and when we settled into our performance we started to press them higher up the pitch and largely eliminated their attacking threat.
Lampard admitted as much when he said that we pushed them to go five at the back. That’s a tribute to how well we played, and even then it was only our finishing that prevented us from racking up a nice comfortable victory.
Overall, I thought it was worth watching even at that time in the morning. I went to bed straight away afterwards, thinking I’d be getting up to read reports about how well we played.
Instead, we got an ex-Ibrox player in all the headlines.
That’s the next article.
For now, I’ll just say that it was a more than credible performance and especially once we started winning the battle in the midfield and further up the pitch. I just wonder if we’re still, perhaps, lacking something on the cutting edge.
Maybe the manager does too.
We’ll see shortly, when the January window opens.