Please log in to use all the site's facilities
|Be social out there — Preview
at 15:14 6 Mar 2021
I used to post regularly on these forums or my own blog many years ago, but ultimately I came to the conclusion that however polite or articulate I tried to be, it ultimately wasn't going to be helpful for the club or players if they ever saw or read it.
I reasoned with myself: they know when they've had a bad game or not done well and they don't need me to tell them that or broadcast it in public spaces, do they?
And on that basis, I stopped.
These days I seldom post thoughts or opinions on things like forums or social media, and if I do, I make sure it's a source of encouragement or something worth celebrating as I don't want to add to this problem any more than it already is.
For me, what's fascinating about social media being unregulated is it shows societies true colours and how much work we need to do to instil and educate respectful values and in people and across communities.
Social media has exacerbated a problem that's probably always been there and provided a platform where a light can be shined on it, but it needs some next steps now to help create a safer, healthier environment for all.
It's really sad to see what the world is *really* like, but in some ways, I'm glad I know about the reality of the situation however gutting and sickening it feels.
p.s. I sympathise with anybody having to deal with it too. There have been times where some of those who targeted Clive spilled into those around him as well. I know I have had some words with people about their conduct and behaviour towards me, and while this is on such a miniscule scale in comparison to Clive or footballers, it can easily make you feel paranoid and even incorrectly misjudge and call out people who are just generally trying to build up a rapport and have some light banter. I know I've done that to some who have posted on here, which I am rather embarrassed about, but that's what this kind of thing can do.
|Anyone had a decent 2020?
at 10:20 2 Jan 2021
I work in the gaming industry and for obvious reasons, it's done really well, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been challenging especially as we've launched Sony PlayStation 5 just a couple of months ago too.
But my studio has managed to launch a new game at the start of the pandemic, followed by a massive expansion in the summer and delivered around 45 updates in total throughout the year.
That would be considered remarkable and impressive in any normal year, let alone one dominated by a pandemic.
I've coped fine on a personal level too, but used the opportunity to take care of myself more than I normally would. I've gotten to the root cause of an underlying health issue that had been bothering me for a while, have been getting regular weekly treatment for a chronic back problem (made affordable by not having to commute), cut down on boozing by a third (thanks to the lack of football or after work socialising) and cycled (indoors) loads more than I'd ever done before.
Sending you all good vibes.
at 13:38 16 Aug 2020
I'm late to the bike thread.
I've had my Brompton for many years, which I've always loved, but just before lockdown I bought a bike and Wahoo KickR Core Turbo Trainer so I could cycle indoors (as Turbo Trainers don't work with Brompton's).
I ended up buying a Pinnacle Laterite 3 2020, which is on the budget end I believe, but as I won't probably won't ever take this out on the street, it doesn't really matter (and also therefore not as worried about weight in this instance). It has a Shimano 105 22 Speed Drivetrain and works really well when paired with Zwift.
I'm not sure if anyone uses Zwift, but I've found it really enjoyable. I may replace the front wheel with a Wahoo KickR Climb too.
I've had a persistent bad back for years, as well as several problems with my hamstrings as a result, so I've found cycling has really helped me maintain some level of fitness. I can't really do sport any more, or even run much, as I have too many issues, so the low impact nature on the joints and restricted range of movement has been ideal.
For the lycra haters...
[Post edited 16 Aug 2020 13:44]
|Tweaks we need to become top 6?
at 15:40 7 Sep 2019
We've conceded a lot of soft goals this season and they cover broadly these areas:
- Lapses in concentration when defending set plays (corners, etc)
- Bad individual errors or mistakes
- Positional and structural issues when hit on the counter attack
The lapses in concentration when defending set plays can be worked on and improved on the training ground, but is also in part, because it's a new team. They're still learning about one another's mentality and who is likely to take responsibility in these situations.
Hopefully it's something we can improve on, but Wigan were allowed a soft goal from a cross to put us one behind on a very warm day and we almost conceded another in similar circumstances just a few minutes later.
The bad individual errors or mistakes can bleed into either of the other two points, but is particularly important when it relates to being hit on the counter attack. This is another area where the players still need time to bed in and gel, as well as get used to what Mark Warburton wants, as well as some of them simply being inexperienced.
This is where we need to offer most support to the players, but also where we need them to wisen up quickly because they've made a lot of mistakes this season that they've not been punished by on top of the many they have been.
Matt Smith was caught out against Swansea trying to make a forward pass, which left us wide open on the counter attack and we conceded. He'd already made a couple of telling mistakes throughout that first half and it cost us both in defence and attack. But, he's just a young boy and therefore getting on top of him isn't going to help the situation. What we do need though is the experienced players to guide the youngsters through these moments. When you've already made a mistake and gotten away with it, just make sure they take a bit more care and weigh up the risk versus reward in the context of the match and to work on their game management.
The third aspect, the structural issues, are the key ones. It's hard to tell how they will unfold, because when we're on form and flying we'll be a handful, but when we're exposed and countered, we're in trouble for different reasons.
We're playing with extremely attacking full backs, which I very much like and enjoy. I think it's exciting and entertaining to watch, but it can also be wild. The wide players are bombing on and leaving the defence exposed if we lose the ball. There's so much space to be hit on the counter that it only takes a side with some nous and a bit of quality to take advantage.
The key issues here are who does what? If we have a midfield two of say Luke Amos and Geoff Cameron, should it be they who cover the full backs, or should it be someone else? Do we want
Amos running around and tracking back, or on the ball and trying to make things happen?
Do we want Cameron, with older legs, having to scurry around and cover? How does this soften the middle of the pitch up as well? Does it actually take away protection from the core central part of the defence? If one of the centre backs go, does that still leave us too exposed?
When you mix this in with the type of attacking players we have, such as Bright, Eze, Chair, etc - they're not renown for their defensive prowess and nor should they be. Eze has done really well this season though with tracking back and pitching in when needed at times. But, it's almost a shame to see him all the way back there doing that when we want him further up the pitch and affecting play and doing damage down the other end.
So for me, it's putting these pieces of the puzzle together. When you lose the ball, what should the shape look like, and who goes where and deals with what scenario? That's the same question whether it's 4-2-3-1 or 3-5-2, etc.
A lot of people have been criticising Barbet this season, and he has made some silly blunders like the rash tackle for the penalty against Swansea. But, I actually think he's been excellent in so many other moments defensively, where the defence have been left exposed and left in too many dangerous or awkward 1:1 scenarios that for the large part they've come out on top. The Bristol City game was a fine example of that, I thought he was MOTM for most of it, and unfortunately it was Grant Hall who headed a ball straight out down the middle for their player to volley it in and then we had the throw-in debacle (see individual mistakes, of which there were three in succession)
But if you keep putting them at that risk, more mistakes or bad decisions will happen, and reducing the probability of all this is what will determine whether we can be successful or not and my gripe this season so far is, most of the goals we've conceded have literally been gifts (and a shame when we've been playing well and seemingly conceding against the run of play). The opposition are barely having to work for theirs and yet we're having to generally work quite hard for ours.
at 17:31 25 Aug 2019
It was an extraordinary miss by Hugill, but thankfully he scored a beauty shortly after and it never was a problem in terms of the outcome of the match, or (hopefully) on him personally.
I think he's played very well for us so far and his experience coming up through the ranks is evident in the way he contests every ball and makes life difficult for defenders.
We're in a position where we have two strikers in Hugill and Wells who can go it alone on their own, or look like they can team up and compliment one another quite well too.
If we can find a system that works where both can play together, they'd cause a lot of teams problems because they're a handful.
at 16:42 1 Jun 2019
The club and Lumley can be pleased with his season overall.
He's had a respectable campaign, especially as it was his first full season at Championship level and he can only benefit from that experience.
On reflection, the coaching staff need to work on his distribution, especially when there is an opportunity to counter the opposition and quickly shift from defence to attack.
His game management can sometimes be a little too wild in these moments, sometimes sloppy and hitting the ball out of play (thus ending the chance before it got going) or sometimes dangerously playing balls that were easily intercepted and putting the team under immediate pressure in transition.
I think we've messed Ingram about too much now and it's not worked out for him, so we should move him on for the sake of his own career. He still has the ability to be a success, but he needs to play regularly now to ensure he fulfils his potential.
|Getting away with it
at 18:41 3 Mar 2019
There's a massive difference between Premier League prices versus the Championship, so even if it was cheap by Premier League standards, it's still very expensive relative to what the norms are at Championship level. Even if the deal was more favourable towards us, it's still going to cost a lot.
In recent years, clubs who yo-yo between the divisions have been trying to change the way they offer contracts in a bid to remain competitive, by trying to convince players to take an automatic pay cut if relegated. This isn't easy though and probably comes with a lot of other caveats, such as huge incentives for promotion or very low minimum release clause fees.
In the past, it has largely worked in favour of the players if their club was promoted, with lots of players on huge incentives, either through their salary or bonuses, or both, getting massive hikes that their ability didn't warrant. And this is still true.
We've done a lot of work to reduce the image that we're a club willing handing out easy pay days for players, but even at this level, we probably still pay over the odds for Championship or lower level players. Matt Smith is a recent example and hint towards that, because we weren't able to shift him out to Millwall on loan as they felt his salary was excessive and they refused to cover it, but I suppose that is obvious when our recent accounts show a wage bill of £31m for 2017/18 versus £13m at Millwall. It will be interesting to see how this changes in the next couple of sets of accounts.
And yes, I agree we've looked tired in recent matches and this period, but I also think McClaren could have utilised the squad a little bit better to try and keep them fresher. The FA Cup game against Watford seemed a missed opportunity because we were out on our feet with 20 minutes to go, when we really needed the energy to throw the kitchen sink at it, which was a shame.
|Getting away with it
at 14:29 3 Mar 2019
Sure, it's all hindsight, but I think we could have gotten away with just Wells and Rangel, personally. And that's not to say the others haven't contributed, they have.
But, they won't have come cheap and Cameron has only been available for probably less than half of the matches he's been here (13 apps including off the bench), with Rangel not too far behind (17 apps). Even Hemed has featured more than they have (21 apps including off the bench, but probably less minutes on the pitch overall).
Wells would have been expensive, but has been worth it; 34 appearances under his belt, has scored goals and contributed with his all round play too. He will be hard to replace.
I'd also say Luongo's absence while he was away with Australia played a bigger role in our downturn of results than Cameron's absence. But, I should add, from what I was talking about earlier about levers and shutting up shop, etc. I think Cameron does the best job of protecting the two centre halves, but at the expense of other midfield duties, if he sits in front of them and stays there.
[Post edited 3 Mar 2019 14:34]
|Getting away with it
at 13:49 3 Mar 2019
I agree that we needed some experience and it was sensible to bring some in, but I'm not sure the expense of these signings was worth it.
Of course, in hindsight, it would have been a steal if we somehow won promotion, but I think in the main everybody's expectations was more about survival and hoping for a bit more than that. And in that circumstance, was this outlay worth it when we knew the potential impact the season after?
The "how" question for shutting up shop is a good one and doesn't have a straightforward answer, because there are several factors at play with this and has lots of levers that affect things positively or negatively in defence or attack, depending on which way you go.
The three centre backs we have are slow and therefore, can easily get caught out with balls over the top if they are hold a higher than normal defensive line. If you then don't thicken the midfield, you can't protect them well enough and we don't have a midfield that is tracking runners effectively that burst beyond.
We play with very attack minded or limited wide players. So, we are always a little imbalanced, with Jake Bidewell generally getting no protection whatever down his side. He is often left in 2:1 or even 3:1 situations. Yet, Bidwell is the only full-back with the intelligence to cover the centre-backs, he's the one who is likely to dart infield to make covering tackles, yet he is also the one with less protection on his side. When we are holding on in games and getting deeper, it makes his area more exposed as he tried to stay narrow and compact to help out the centre-halves.
In contrast, Furlong's defensive positioning is less sound, but he is quicker and with a decent leap on him, but you'll see wide men getting behind him to the byline more often and he is less likely to cover incorrectly.
What can compound this problem is when we have two in the middle, as sometimes the midfielders are busy chasing around, and forgetting who they are supposed to be protecting (the centre backs or trying to help the full backs) and can inadvertently leave large gaps that make it easy for the other team to penetrate.
Freeman works hard, but is allowed to roam in a bid to get him on the ball. This works to our advantage when he is able to find possession, but it sometimes means it's at the expense of being in the correct place for shape and balance in defence. We can be affected in transition by this, but there's no easy answer because we have to try and give him the creative freedom to find something. I'm willing to live with the risks, but it means others elsewhere have to be razor sharp when there's a turnover of possession. In recent matches, I've loved how well Freeman has picked the ball up in defensive areas and driven forward on the ball.
Bright is less defensive, so if he plays and Freeman plays, you leave both full backs exposed, and therefore leaves us vulnerable, but then we don't have his direct running and ability to take players on in 1:1s. If Pavel plays, you get far more defensive graft, but perhaps less finesse going forward. He can be hit or miss, or a bit more of a player who plays to percentages in the final third (just sling a ball in and hope for the best, etc). In addition, when Pavel plays, he entices Furlong forward as he's likely to hang around the byline and pull balls back. If caught on the counter, this leaves us exposed here, whereas, if Bright plays, he's more likely to ignore the full backs and try and do it all alone, so perhaps giving a little more stability when countered.
And then from the strikers perspective, Wells is the best at harassing defenders and defensive midfield players from the opposition, but the rest are a bit hit and miss in these areas. Eze has a lot to learn with how and when he closes down, and does need to work a bit harder from this perspective. I find Hemed's work a bit aimless, to be honest, and Matt Smith is limited in mobility and can tire quickly and that's dangerous whenever the opponents have the ball.
We also don't play intelligently enough whenever Smith plays. We sling balls forward to him with little support around him, perhaps because we're worried of dragging ourselves out of position if he loses his dual, but by doing that, the opposition tend to have free shot at starting their attack and are unchecked from the back. This puts pressure on the units behind, causing the midfield to hesitate whether to engage or not and we're often caught out in these in between moments with one person making the wrong move and being made to pay for it.
I think a lot more can be done by the strikers to defend from the front and protect the team and ensuring that the opposition defence is shifted and moved to where you want them. They've got to understand how to shape themselves to block simple balls coming through into midfield, or to ensure that the defence play to who they think is the weakest link, and let that player make the forward pass to reduce the probability of it being an accurate ball.
In some of these matches in the losing run, I'd have thickened the midfield and made us defensive and hard to beat. It obviously depends on who plays and who the opponents are, but generally when you shut up shop you need to protect the centre backs and ensure nobody is left 1:1 or worse in wide areas.
I'd certainly look deeper into why we keep getting beaten by simple long balls over the top, which should be bread and butter for Leistner, Lynch and Hall. But, it sort of speaks to the starting positions not being quite right. They've been missing what you assume are simple headers, but then the midfield haven't really reacted quick enough either in some of these cases. Even Lynch's poor header against West Brom (which was inexcusable) had no midfielder in the hole who could remotely impact play and there was also very little communication between players. Someone should have called clearly and so these basics must be worked on and addressed.
Lumley also needs to do a lot of work on his kicking and general distribution. That's one area where he's weak overall.
And of course, there's a time and place to play out from the back. .
|Getting away with it
at 12:02 3 Mar 2019
The club panicked after the way we started the season. They allowed McClaren to bring in some expensive loan signings at the expense of blooding players who needed experience.
That decision was interesting at the time, because, if it was just about survival (which I think it was) then it was overkill to bring Wells, Hemed, Cameron and Rangel in, even if some experience in the ranks was needed.
We steadied the ship a little, and at one stage we looked an outside bet for a play-off push, and if this went well and we miraculously somehow achieved promotion, it would have wiped away any concerns and been worthwhile from a financial point of view. It would have given us the chance to compete a little better in future years even if we then got relegated again (providing they didn't spend promotion money wildly again, which is a big if given our recent history).
But, this losing run eroded that unlikely dream and has now left us in a more awkward circumstance. We've arrived at this point by mainly playing Wells in both our good and bad periods. Hemed, Cameron and Rangel have been sidelined for a lengthy period of time, so it shows we could have probably coped without them, although perhaps asking for an unexpected play-off push required them.
Therefore, we've wasted money doing this, and will lose the majority of these players next season and have another rebuilding job on our hands. Our FFP restrictions mean we may not be able to bring in the same amount or calibre of player, so it's important that our players get playing time.
I think the decision to send many of our players out on loan is the right one in these circumstances. We should prepare as many of them as possible for what could be a more difficult campaign next time around, as well as ensuring the ones still here are being used more regularly too (and that means we might have to suck up some more inconsistent performances and results to boot).
We have the added problem that some of our players are out of contract, and the club may not be able to stop the likes of Freeman or Eze moving on if the money on offer is right.
When you take all of that into account, it's a tough job for any manager, whether it's McClaren or someone else. The club need a bit of luck in this next period in terms of the development of players, but it can also help itself between now and the end of the season with the ones who are still here.
In this recent losing run, when you compare versus other high profile managers, the biggest mistake McClaren made when is he never once shut up shop. He never tried to grind out a 0-0 in the way we did away to a poor Birmingham side earlier in the season. We needed to do that far earlier in the process, as that would have still given us an unlikely shot at maintaining momentum.
It's a worry how many goals we've conceded that have a very Sunday league feel about them. Some of our defending has been really amateur and it's unlikely we're going to be signing a bunch of players capable of eradicating this next season. Hard work needs to be done on the training ground to improve this, and I'm a little alarmed McClaren hasn't done more to sort it out. It reminds me a little bit like Chris Ramsey, who I have a lot of time for, but who also didn't really sort his defensive issues out and it led to his downfall in the end.
Having said that, the players are clearly still with McClaren and that's a positive sign. The performance they gave after being 4-0 down at home to Birmingham proved that.
at 00:53 20 Jan 2019
Sometimes you just have to accept that the opposition did a good job. Preston pressed Scowen and Cousins well and had plenty of players in close proximity to swamp them and also put pressure on the defence, which made everybody in our defensive unit a little hesitant to pass and move in there and hence the ball often went long or safety first as a result. I think even Luongo and Cameron would have struggled a bit with that on this occasion.
But, Preston also had plenty of numbers at the back as well, so they swamped this area too and easily mopped up the loose balls. There was plenty of space in wide areas throughout, and Eze did drop to try and find the ball on many occasions, which isolated Wells, but because we always played straight balls forward we struggled to get a hold of it or put our foot on the ball.
In these situations, the team needs to pass square a little more, or diagonally and at an angle to shift players forwards in waves, but not always too far. This can surpress the opposition units and force them to retreat and that can then stop them imposing themselves on you in a way that you don't want. But, we barely did that, which was a shame. And because we were struggling to get to grips with what they were doing we lost our shape and that only made matters worse for trying to keep possession.
I did see McClaren telling Eze to try and stay in the Number 10 position and for Wells to stay close, but it just didn't happen because we were overloaded in key areas and inviting more pressure on ourselves from the amount of mistakes we made. It was a bad day for us, but Preston, as usual, did a very thorough and professional job in terms of their performance and tactics (although most of the goals were soft and defended badly in the end and they actually made a number of sloppy mistakes in the final third themselves, that they really ought to have done better with).
I did think the substitution at half-time pretty much threw the game away too.
[Post edited 20 Jan 2019 0:56]
|Best Loan Player We've Ever Had
at 21:27 5 Jan 2019
Akos Buzsaky's best period for us probably came when he was on loan, before the move was made permanent.
at 01:46 30 Sep 2018
My slight worry with all of this is I just don't *feel* that McClaren really understands and knows the Championship or lower leagues that well. He's operated at a higher level for a lot of the time, so while he is an excellent and experienced coach, he doesn't seem suited to this level of football and I think it shows.
He wasn't keen on signing players from the lower leagues, because he didn't know much about them, and hence has moved towards experience. Having said that, it's still a fair assessment that we needed to have a bit more experience in the squad having lost so many senior players in the summer, so it's not like he's an idiot. That was sensible enough.
But, he also didn't seem to realise how expensive players at this level are and were. The club seemed to have one idea and he probably had another idea. I'm not sure the expectation levels matched and the reality of it all seemed to be a bit of a wake up call.
In addition, with everything that's happened so far this season, it makes me feel like McClaren hasn't done his homework well enough. I don't feel like he knows the strengths and weaknesses or history of the players here all that well, and I'd say the same for the teams we've faced this season, where he's set up the side poorly and played into the hands of the opposition.
The Norwich and Swansea matches were striking examples of this. Both have deep lying midfield players who can dictate matches and control proceedings from the base of the midfield, but we didn't seem to prepare for this and more worryingly did nothing to try and remedy the situation once it was apparent it was a problem during the games. I mean, it's fine if you want to allow those players to have time on the ball, but don't let them do it with the two strikers out of the game behind them. If they're not going to apply pressure, at least get one or both to drop in and screen.
On top of that, the team selections and rotational policy McClaren's employed says a lot. There are some players he clearly fancies and some he doesn't. It feels like to me has made some quick assessments based on limited action in a short space of time and stuck with them.
And we're back to playing players out of position to try and shoehorn them in and all of this leaves us vulnerable to being exploited by opposing teams and increases the risk of things not going as well as we want.
From a purely tactical perspective, it concerns me to see us paying little attention to the oppositions midfield, particularly the diamond positions (base and top of the midfield) where we're allowing the opposition to control proceedings, and then leaving space for an attacking midfield to freely operate between the lines and in dangerous areas right in front of the defence.
Currently we're vulnerable from wide areas because we're playing two players in Freeman and Eze who are more attack minded, which does leave the full backs exposed and don't have the luxury of an extra body in midfield to try and help out and cover. In addition, those two aren't really thickening up the midfield when they come inside, nor are they really doing the job of a natural wide player. At the same time, the two in midfield are being overrun and exposed, and we've generally not got the profile of players with the attributes to play as a two instead of a three.
That's become more obvious as McClaren's stuck with it, and today we saw Geoff Cameron screening the two centre backs. That might seem like a sensible idea, but it meant that we played too deep and the midfield were giving up even more space because someone was trying to offer more protection than normal. It didn't stop Fulton running through unchecked from deep with all the time and space to tee up and score the third.
You would expect at least one of the two strikers to come deep and help out, but it doesn't look like they're being instructed to do so to me. McClaren also cited that our passing was poor and we gave it away a lot, but if the distance between our defensive base and units increases from the strikers (and there was a huge gap and a lot of vertical space down the middle today) then it's going to make every pass more difficult to achieve.
If McClaren did his homework, he'd have known why so many before him in recent seasons have opted for a three man midfield, as it played to the strengths we had. It also helps with having more passing options in close proximity, at least in transitions and quick turnovers of play.
I've mentioned previously on here that McClaren tends to set up a pretty basic formation, with 1:1 duals across the pitch and expecting players to win their individual battles. But, the net effect of this is when that doesn't happen, you leave yourself wide open and exposed right across the pitch, and at times, outnumbered and vulnerable and this has happened countless times already this season with inevitable outcomes. It's not the type of level of football for this approach, not unless you have players with the technical ability and personality to do it.
I think a lot of the matches we've lost this season are because of this. I've counted many times this season where crosses have come into the box with players arriving on the other side completely unmarked and with plenty of time and space to do what they like. Same for central midfield and runners from deep.
I also think it's a shame that for one half of excellent football against an admittedly poor Millwall side on the night, he went away from it and back to a system where we're shoehorning players in. I just don't get that at all.
The choice of substitutions hasn't really worked this season either, but I think worse than that, decisions on when to introduce and make changes are happening very late, easily 10-15 minutes before they should be in some cases.
But the biggest worry isn't actually about formations or shoehorning players in, it's just the total collapse once things don't go your way. These are the worrying signs that need to be looked at and addressed. We completely gave up and waved the white flag in spectacular fashion against West Brom, made life extraordinarily difficult for ourselves after conceding against Bolton and never looked like we had the belief after going behind against Norwich and Swansea that we could get back in it.
Every time a goal goes in, it's unsettling the side and making them more anxious, and to me, that's obvious. If you need to respond, but you're set up in a way that leaves you wide open as we are doing, it's going to make you nervous about the counter attacks when there's already a soft underbelly.
|Mac Advise (non QPR)
at 17:42 23 Sep 2018
Do you know what the update was that you installed?
MacOS Mojave actually officially launches tomorrow (10.14).
If you haven't set up any other users, then that's fine, it's simply asking for an administrator password, which will be your accounts username and password.
Another possibility is that it's iCloud Keychain. If you go to "System Preferences" > "iCloud", you might see various accounts listed there where you may need to re-enter your password. Similarly you can do the same in "System Preferences" > "Internet Accounts".
One other are you can also check is "System Preferences" > "Security & Privacy". On the "General" tab, you may see some app(s) listed under the "Allow apps download from:" section that are waiting for approval. You can select the Padlock icon to make changes.
|Antti's Six Knee Jerks: QPR 1 Wigan 0
at 20:09 26 Aug 2018
You have to take risks sometimes and it worked out with Lumley's selection, so fair play and I’m really pleased it went well. I’ll be curious to see who steps in on Tuesday against Bristol rovers, as there’s a case for either keeper to play.
Like you Antti, I thought Wells was the clear Man of the Match for us. He mixed it up really well, sometimes working the channels, sometimes stretching the backline, sometimes coming deep and linking play and sometimes standing his ground and holding it up. There were moments his footwork and quality of first touch set him apart from the rest, and hopefully he’ll improve further as he reaches optimum match sharpness. There’s more to come from him, which is great for us.
I hope Conor Washington can learn from Wells and Hemed, should he remain at the club and not be moved out on loan. Wells’ style of play is what he should look to try and emulate, but I’ve said before that I never really felt Washington was fit enough for this level of football, and that seemed more obvious to me while watching Wells’ display.
Overall it was a scrappy low quality affair, and while we dug this one out, we still need to do a lot of work defensively in wide areas and do more to pick up dangerous runners coming in on the other side of crosses. We had a few near misses here again, which ended up as goals in previous games, and the answer may be that we can’t afford to play with two number 10s out wide.
I did feel McClaren was all the things you mentioned Antti; he seemed panicked and desperate towards the end and I’m not sure I ever recall anybody here looking as frantic as he did as the clock ticked down. Still, it was a huge win for us and very much welcomed and needed.
[Post edited 26 Aug 2018 20:15]
|Antti's Six Knee Jerks: QPR 0 Bristol City 3
at 18:31 24 Aug 2018
I still think Matt Ingram is a decent keeper who can improve considerably if he plays regularly. But, he needs the opportunity to do that, and sitting on the bench never helps any keeper if they do it for too long and he may have stalled a bit too much while Smithies was able to play at this level and progress further. Doing that has wrecked many a top goalkeeper's career. Jerzy Dudek, Carlo Cudicini, Shay Given, Joe Hart, to name a few, etc...
But, we're talking about keepers being put in front of a very shaky and leaky defence in our case. Ingram has hardly had any protection and if you allow players to shoot from anywhere between 1-18 yards with any sort of regularity, then it's going to make life very difficult.
In some of these matches, my mouth has been left wide open at the amount of times the opposition have had so much time and space in the box, unchecked, to control the ball and smash the ball at goal from close distance. It tells you the problem isn't the goalkeeper, at all.
Sure, Ingram's made some poor mistakes and could have done better in some circumstances, but he's barely been given a chance by those in front of him till now. And, when you're being asked to pass the ball around and you also know your defenders probably don't really want it either, it's just adding to the anxiety levels for everybody.
I'm not sure, when faced with this situation, that's it's the right thing to do to throw a young Joe Lumley into the firing line either. He's also learning his trade and we need to make sure we protect him correctly and not destroy his confidence either. They've got to get the balance right with this, but they need to start by defending a whole lot better in the first place to give the keepers a chance.