This is the team which won the treble last season, so the question sort of asks itself; what has gone wrong with it? I recognise that there is some adjusting to do between one style and another, and in fact there are some players who were uniquely suited to the previous system who simply will not transition from one to the other … but that’s no explanation for what has happened to others.
They aren’t being asked to do anything terribly different.
Maeda is in the papers this morning talking about the change having thrown him off his game.
But why would it?
There are simple things that he should be able to do regardless of the system, and he is failing to do them. The same applies to McGregor, Taylor and others. Abada has been given more time on the pitch than Ange gave him in months, but he’s not justifying that time on the pitch with anything. That was horrendous yesterday from them.
Rodgers says this is a treble hangover; he might be right, but at the end of the day we’ve all had to work through a hangover.
One of the best articles I’ve ever written on this site (I won’t tell you which one, but I have a very specific example) was written during a time when I was frustrated and angry and feeling physically wretched. You power through whatever is going on, whatever you are feeling or thinking, and you try to produce your best.
Some people think they are missing their former boss.
For Christs sake, these are not kids leaving their favourite nursery school teacher to go to Primary One. They are professional athletes and Ange was not the sort of man who coddled people anyway. If this is pining for the old management team, they need to cut that out and accept, as we all have to, that things are different now.
We need more than this from them. We need to see their best.
As we all know, some of them are not going to cut it.
The jobs they did so well under Ange no longer exist, but the fundamentals of this game remain the same. You pass, you move, you get into a new position, you collect the ball, you do your thing.
I’ve watched Rodgers teams play opponents off the park. I’ve watched them wrack up scoring records … once this team is doing what he wants them to do I have little doubt that it will be a success.
He needs to refocus and rediscover his passion. I don’t know what’s happened to this guy, but he supposedly wanted a year away from football altogether before we came and got him; if this is all he’s got left maybe he’d have been better off taking it. But these players have been told what that man expects of them and it’s their job now to deliver.
Everyone at this club is sleeping at the wheel right now.
The board are dragging their feet, the manager is letting them and still sounding off about it, the players seem jaded and unable to get their act together. The whole place needs a shake.
Fortunately, I agree with what Rodgers said yesterday after the game although I know he got pilloried for it in some quarters; Ibrox is the best place we could be going to next.
It has the right level of intensity that it will focus minds like nothing else.
The team knows that it cannot turn in that level of performance there, the manager knows that it might be a defining moment, the board has to know what the pressure is going to be like if they don’t come through with the signings that the manager wants to get this team to his place. They have messed this guy about so far. It’s time to deliver.
We’re not in a great place. That’s obvious.
The week and a bit has rocked this club to its core, and although some people in the media are going to say this is the fans turning on the team and the manager in hysterical fashion it’s actually not that at all. Hearing the manager discuss the transfer policy as if it had no bearing on him is what set this off, not the defeat in the cup or the draw yesterday. Some of these problems can be fixed right there if those above Rodgers get their act together and give that man what he needs.
But as they cannot escape their responsibilities, and he cannot escape from his, that third group, the players themselves, should be called to account for their own role in this. Because if they were doing it on the pitch nobody would be talking over-much about what is going on off it, or about who the manager needs to bring in to help him.
If some of them are piqued by his comments about needing new players and about needing greater quality, all they are doing right now is fully justifying that view. If they aren’t able to get themselves to his level they will be replaced by those who are, it’s as simple as that, and every single one of them should get their heads around that simple fact.
If they want to convince Rodgers that they can adapt and fit in to what he’s trying to do, it is surely obvious what they need to do. Go to Ibrox, put on a show and bring us out of the other side of it with three points.
Nothing less is going to cut it now.