Wednesday 31st October 2005
The teams recent 4-2 away loss to Newcastle in the Worthington Cup was anything but ideal.
It was a competition that I wanted us to give our best shot to, an opportunity to put a good cup run together so that the club and community could be proud of something by the end of the season.
That being said, with us sitting in the top four of the table – and with a landmark win against Manchester United at home – I’ll take a 4-2 ass plugging any day of the week for the lads if it means we can move closer to safety we ahead of schedule.
I was unhappy with how we were performing in the first couple of games of the season. We were a bit too passive, giving too much respect to our opponents. Allowing them to not only have the ball, but do what they want with it closer to our goal than I would have liked.
As such, I asked the lads to focus on a few things.
For me, opposition disruption is the name of the game. Even though we still sit pretty deep and control the space in our own half, inviting the opposition onto us, we get in their faces as soon as they get anywhere near the halfway line.
We’ve given up a decent amount of possession and territory doing this, but as soon as the ball is won, the lads absolute fly forward, like a Millennium Falcon that’s using crack cocaine as space fuel to fly through the galaxy. Or something.
Coming back from the abyss to draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-3 in their own back yard; a promising 2-2 draw against Derby in a game that we could have won have all been promising Omans. But the best result so far, and one that stands alongside the win against Manchester United, is the 3-1 away win at Arsenal.
The team have been putting a real shift in. Leaving it on the field. And wearing their football hearts on their football sleeves.
Training has become way more intense; as such, the lads haven’t had a day off. And wiry games coming thick and fast, I’m hoping the momentum of set piece training, defensive drills and a bunch of physical training will pay off for the lads.
Time will tell. If we keep over performing, it could be one of the biggest challenges I’ll face as manager. Primarily because the January transfer window will allow us to add to the squad to help keep pushing forward, although it could come at the expense of those who have served us so well in this first part of the season.