|Tickle Tackle - Same Old Same Old|
Tue 22nd Jan 2008 00:01 by Steve Tickle
Is it any wonder Paul Jewell is tearing his hair out? The same old mistakes keep being made over and over again.
Since Paul Jewell came in, performances have improved. Unfortunately, results haven't. The same stupid mistakes keep being made time after time. PJ complains that he's getting sick of hearing himself repeatedly trying to drum the same lessons in to the squad, but that some people aren't taking them in or aren't capable of taking them in.
He took on a squad that was about as low as it could get. Some players weren't of the required standard and there were (still are) players who are capable of performing better but were unable to do so through their confidence being in tatters.
The period up to the transfer window enabled him to give everyone a fresh chance to show him what they could do. Unfortunately, by January 1st it was pretty obvious that he had to rip the squad apart and start again. Unfortunately, a month is nowhere near long enough to completely rebuild a team. Maybe somebody could remind me why the transfer window was brought in because I certainly don't think it helps any but the biggest clubs. Oh look! Maybe I've just answered my own question!
There are still players at Derby County who to be frank, we just can't afford to carry. For whatever reason, they're unable to do the job required of them and it's best for all concerned if they moved on and relaunched their careers elsewhere.
The problem is that it's just not that easy to do. There's less than two weeks of the transfer window left and in my opinion, we still need to bring in another four or five new faces. After being quick out of the blocks at the start of the month, I'm sure PJ isn't just sitting on his hands now. I'm sure he and his team are beavering away trying to bring in a few more new faces.
We desperately need them... especially in defence. We still concede the stupidest goals. The midfield and forwards must be inhibited by the concern that if they make a mistake or lose possession the ball will finish up in the back of our net. With a stronger defence I'm sure we'd start to score more ourselves. Having a strong defence spreads confidence throughout the rest of the team.
Personally, I'd be happy with a few 0-0 draws from the next few games. It wouldn't save us from relegation but other than all the other nineteen teams donating us a point each, I don't see what would. What's more, I could almost guarantee that those 0-0 draws would start to turn into a few wins too, as confidence flowed back and people were prepared to take a few chances again.
I'm long enough in the tooth to remember the Cloughie years. He built his teams on a sound defence and although off the top of my head I can't remember what year, he let his feelings be known when we went on a losing run of two or three games once. The next game, I seem to remember, was at home to Manchester City. It was a dour 0-0... a bit of an ordeal to watch really but after the game, Cloughie announced his pleasure at the way we'd got back to defending properly again. The next few games we were back to old ways, sweeping all before us.
I read a rumour somewhere about the possibility of Sami Hyypia joining us. He was an excellent player in his day but I wonder if he's quick enough nowadays. Mind you, Paul McGrath was no greyhound when he joined us. If he could whip those around him into some sort of shape he might be worth a punt... I don't know. It might just be all speculation anyway.
So I'm desperately hoping PJ can bring in some quality defenders before the end of the month. We're going to be relegated but we desperately need to be able to go into next season with some level of confidence. Turning around these shambolic defensive performances will go a long way to doing that.
Talk about this on the message board.
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