I know this has been mentioned a few times but just a reminder of Don Shanks running the New York Marathon raising money for Stan Bowles, he's a long way off his target at the moment so if anyone is able to sponsor him then please do so on the links below
I usually enjoy this show on BT, this weeks one has a few minutes of Redknapps time at QPR, think it's safe to say a few heads will explode when they watch this and could inspire a few articles from Clive
So yesterday I took my 9 year old son to his first away game, he predicted a 4-1 defeat and despite those low expectations it was still far worse than he could have imagined. We left after the fifth, were on the train with many other QPR fans when the seventh went in. Only other away game I’ve ever left early from was Fulham when Ramsey was manager, I’ve sat through some tripe in my time but yesterday was a new low.
Apologies to Antti for nicking his format for this but was the only way I could make my rant even slightly coherent so here are 5 points/rants/gibberish thoughts from yesterday
1 - McClaren and Stability
The whole point of McClaren coming in was supposed to be that Holloway was too erratic which wasn’t good for the kids and would bring stability.
So far this season 3 games in we’ve seen Bright Samuel start one game and hooked at half time, off the bench in the next game and played during 45 minutes as left winger, right winger, left winger again and a right back. Ryan Manning has played as a left winger, centre midfielder then loaned out for the season.
Paul Smyth 45 minutes then not seen again. Eze the jewel in the crown started the Preston game as a number 10, was left wing against Sheff Utd and started right wing yesterday. In each game he’s also moved into several other positions.
Can anyone tell me how this is better than what Holloway was sacked for? I don’t see how any of this is helping their development which is what he was hired for and for all the talk of a young team etc only 2 kids played yesterday and at a stretch 3 if you include Ingram, the rest of the team was a very experienced one in terms of first team appearances so all this young team need more experience line is complete bullshit
2 - Playing out from the Back
Now i don’t want to go all Sam Allardyce here and think there is a balance between going route one and being Barcelona but bloody hell what are we thinking with this.
Ingram quite clearly can’t kick the ball so if he is our number one don’t base our game around him and his feet. The poor sod has been hung out to dry this season, he looked bereft of any confidence yesterday, a player ruined within 3 matches. Good Work Steve
We simply don’t have the players to play this way, was exactly the same when Gary Waddock tried this after Holloway left the first time and we had Zesh rehmann playing out from the back. It works if you have players good on the ball, we don’t.
Yesterday in the first half we were caught in our own half losing the ball on 5 occasions. They scored from one of them and should have scored from the other 4 so to go in at half time 1-1 should have been a warning to us and a chance to improve. Yet McClaren states after the game we were really good first half (we weren’t) and he has no idea what went wrong. Well second half we conceded 4 more goals losing the ball in our own half and have no idea what to do when we lost it. It’s not bloody rocket science this. In the first half yesterday West brom played out and got caught by Eze and we almost scored, the next 4 or 5 goal kicks they went long and played in our half. We don’t seem to learn at all and just keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
We don’t have to become a long ball team but some sort of plan of what to do when we lose the ball might be useful, we are dreadful both in and out of possession.
3 - Width
Much was made about the 3-5-2 last season and the need for more width which the change of system should bring us, well it might help us if we play a winger in the current set up. So far this season the wide positions have been filled by Freeman, Bright Samuel, Eze, Smyth, Cousins, Wszolek and Washington. Three of those are actual wingers and none of hem have played a full league game. Thats meant a complete lack of protection for the full backs and normally a congested midfield with very few optins to spread the play other than to the full backs.
That needs to change and quickly.
4 - Ingram
I feel for him, he’s waited a long time for his chance but when given it has been asked to change his game dramatically. He’s not a keeper who can play out from the back, he’s a basic functional championship goalkepeer, decent shot stopper, OK on crosses terrible with his feet so why on earth have we built the team around him playing from the back. It’s been an absolute disaster and genuinely destroyed a promising keeper. Well done all involved in achieving this.
5 - Attitude
Finally the attitude of the players when going 3-1 down yesterday was nothing short of a disgrace. In particular Cousins just gave up and was stood watching several of the goals from the edge of the box. Leinster was diabolical all game, wrong side of Gayle all match and his throwing in of the towel was disgusting from someone who had impressed in the first few games. Lynch deciding to throw himself on the floor and just walk off at 4-1 down, not the first time he’s done that either. Freeman probably the only one who looked like he cared. That is another thing that badly needs to improve.
On the plus side our set pieces were good.
I could go on, genuinely so much wrong on the pitch I could be here all day.
Latest Lee Hoos interview on the offish is very good, addresses the family stand and finally exposes this myth that the Lower Loft was a vibrant, full to capacity hub of people, noise and atmosphere pre 2011 showing clips of games from before it became a family stand and far more empty seats back then than we have now
Really happy with the fitness of the players, they have all worked hard and all in better shape than they were last season
Still work to do on the shape of the team as some players been unable to train but after trying several ways of playing out have settled on one way which he feels will get best out of this squad. Tried to play as he did at Blackpool and palace but that doesn’t suit these players
Delighted to have Ariel back, seems a lot fitter and showing a great attitude. I didn’t give him a chance last season but he’s looking good.
Caulker is also back in training, situation with him is well documented, has a lot of problems but wants to come back and work and get playing again.
Cousins and Hall both injured, always have injuries but transfer window makes it difficult as you have to put a squad together to cope with injuries and you never know where you will get the injuries. Transfer window isn’t workable, fine for a premier league team to rack and stack a squad but very hard further down. Looking to add to the squad but won’t say which positions or who as that’s disrespectful to his current squad.
Hall is a key player for us and we need to learn to win games without him, Caulker will be a big help in being a defender who can bring the ball out of defence.
Gutted for Cousins, got to try and look at the cause of it and will have to wait a while to see the best of him.
We’re not in Neymar or Lukaku but we need to get ourselves right rather than worry about how many signings we are going to make, more about getting best from this squad.
We created some very good chances at the weekend which was pleasing but also need to improve on some areas of what we did on Saturday.
Have a meeting with club today about transfers etc but it’s not about who we sign, all about who we’ve got.
We’ve got a Polish international who struggled last year but is in a much better place now, Massimo and Pavel also have a world Cup they want to be at next summer so a lot of talent and hunger in the squad that we need to get the best out of.
We’ve tried a few different things in pre season but have now settled on how we are going to play and we’ll get better and better at it the more we do it. Pre season have to mix the team up and make sure everyone gets game and gets fits. Saturday first time he was able to play Lunogo, Freeman and Scowen in the team together and they’ll get better the more they play together as will Ariel. Need to understand when to press, when to break etc, did it well at times but needs a lot of work. Believe that we’ll get stronger the more we play.
The fans at the weekend saw the team work hard and chase all game, wasn’t always at the right times but can’t fault their efforts and he wants that from the team every week.
On it being a tough start he said he's been told in the past he wouldn’t get 10 points in a season so not worrying about it, We're trying to change things, going to be a long hard season but can’t wait to get started and prove everyone wrong