So after one result and the doom merchants are already out. We’ve spent too much on the wrong players. We were tried because of our pre season friendlies and there’s the old nugget lack of strength in depth.
All these were trotted out as an excuse for our second half “slump” against Sunderland. I honestly wonder if these people are on the same planet or perhaps they think we are, stupid and impressionable? Correct me if I’m wrong but we’ve another thirty odd games to play this season. Dropping two points on the first day is not a sign of impending disaster and certainly isn’t the cause for alarm the early naysayers might want us to believe? However try telling that to people in the media who are desperately trying to fashion an angle of discussion or controversy to fill pages and airtime or get some deluded, impatient sucker to phone up straight after the game and moan at Robbie Savage. Then there are people like the office idiot, in everyone else’s minds anyway but not his, who walked up to my desk and announced, in all seriousness, that our season was over. What a knob!
One local paper suggested tiredness was the excuse for allowing Sunderland to get back into the game. At first ponder this might seem a plausible reason. We were by far the better team in the first half, razor sharp in our tackling and passing and showing plenty of industry, the second half was a different story. However, tiredness? Without wishing to sound like one of Python’s Four Yorkshiremen the side got back from the far east over two weeks ago and last played (against Valencia) a week before the Sunderland game. How long does it take to recover? It’s not as if, having arrived at John Lennon Airport, the players go home unpack, and leave straight for a shift down the local factory or hospital ward?
I suspect the truth behind Saturday’s game lies in the fact that we are still finding our feet with each other. Take Luis Enrique for example. He signed on Thursday was thrown straight into Saturday’s team.
“I know I’m not 100% because I have to train more with the team. In the next few games if I continue to play it will be really easy to understand the players here. I have to get to know them more.”
So perhaps Kenny should have moderated the number of new signings he fielded and gradually introduced them so as not to disrupt the balance of the team? I disagree it’s a new season, we’ve paid good money for them so let’s get them in there and up and running as soon as possible? We’ve had too much of Rafa wrapping new players in cotton wool and saving them for some unspecified special occasion. It may also serve to galvanise some of last year’s players who lost out?
Argh say some but they’ve had all the pre season games to get used to each other. My answer to that would be to take a look at the different sides we fielded in those games, how many substitutions were made and then tell me that Saturday’s eleven were used to each other. Nonetheless it is perhaps difficult to explain why we did so well in the first half and failed to maintain it in the second. Had it been the other way around then perhaps things would been more logical. Perhaps if Suarez had converted his spot kick, and Andy Carroll’s “goal” been allowed, we wouldn’t be talking like this?
I also feel we should give some credit to Sunderland who played well and not only nullified the initiative we had but took in on themselves. No doubt Kenny Dalglish and Steve Clarke will have seen the way we reacted to this (perhaps we didn’t) and how the new players did. They will have taken this on board and will, slowly but surely, start to tighten things up throughout the team hopefully to the point were all that is needed is fine tuning?
Anyway I guess all this nonsense is trying to say one thing. There is a long way to go yet. I suspect we should be prepared for more bouts of unexpected disappointment as everyone finds their feet. This weekend’s game against Arsenal isn’t the ideal opportunity, in terms of opposition, to bounce back however one only has to look at them plus the fact that on Sunday night we were forth in the table despite having drawn our first game, to see that we weren’t the only clubs last weekend to make a slow start. It goes without saying that there is still all to play for.