There will come a time for Russell Martin, but it’s nowhere near yet
Thursday, 16th Sep 2021 10:38 by Keith Haynes
Another draw, but more realistically more signs of improvement as Swansea City played their second home game in four days. Sadly it resulted in another 0-0. You can’t argue with the playing style, it creates chances for players to score goals. The only issue is the players needed to score goals left their shooting boots at home.
Seven games in and three of them draws is okay I suppose, but three defeats isn’t. The one win was the away game at Bristol City. Game number eight rears it’s head on Saturday against draw specialists Luton Town, but this time away. After defeats away to Preston and Blackburn then a home loss to Stoke it’s hard to predict which way this game will go. Swans manager Russell Martin is still very much within his honeymoon period, anyone who thinks differently isn’t reviewing all the facts, or all the evidence.The vast majority of the swans support is very much on his side.
What Martin needs to avoid is another result like he had at Preston, Blackburn was okay, it wasn’t a trashing and to be honest the points were there if the chances had been taken. Same old story. The home Stoke defeat just displayed what happens when the football becomes so ponderous and slow it’s easy to counteract. The same could be said during the first half at home to Millwall, it was just that the opposition didn’t have much about them to do what Stoke City did.
As Martin said post match “I am disappointed we didn’t win,” said Martin. I kind of knew what to expect tonight. I was worried we would not be able to maintain the energy and intensity the longer the game went on after the effort they put in on Saturday. We are still fighting to get them where we physically want them to be. We are getting there, definitely, but I felt the ball speed was a little slow in the build-up in the first half. But when we got there, I thought it was good, we created a brilliant chance for Jamie Paterson; if the ball is a little bit softer to him, he has a tap-in. It didn’t come, but that is what we are waiting for. A moment like that where if we score it changes the context of the game”
Time isnt ticking yet for the Swansea dream team
Martin has a solid belief in the foundations he is building, but course he isn’t a paying customer, he isn’t putting thirty quid or so on the clubs table every home game, nor is he parting with a hundred quid a game for travel, food, drink and entry to an away ground so far away it takes a six hour round trip to do the day. That’s the real issue for Martin. The watershed will be around the middle of next month, more precisely the Cardiff City game. Swans fans want total commitment in a game like that, the ponderous and laborious play of the first half against Millwall just wont rub. Between then and now Martin has four league games and a league cup tie against Brighton to navigate. That will have given him eleven league games and three league cup games to work on his squad. Then it’s the international break, and yes, then it’s Cardiff City at home.
The international breaks this year will assist Martin and his coaching set up, another one happens along in November before the gruelling winter ahead. He isn’t phased by it “We are becoming difficult to play against – that is four clean sheets in seven games - and we are getting there, the players believe and trust in what we want to do, and we are miles apart from where we were three or four weeks ago. The next bit is going to come. We are working hard, and the supporters I have come across are really receptive and supportive and the atmosphere was fantastic again tonight. There was a buzz, and I cannot wait to feel that when we are winning games and have a team to be proud of."
You can’t beat his positivity nor his desire to get things right, scoring only one goal in four home matches is a problem though. The chances have been there but they just are not being taken. Joel Piroe and now Michael Obafemi are the players that Martin is reliant upon, its pretty annoying for Morgan Whittaker who for us here is a far better player than Liam Cullen at this moment in time. Morgan could have made a big difference over the last two home games.
Obafemi - the chances will come
Michael Obafemi is calm about the situation though “The lads were a bit disappointed about the result, but ultimately, we played well and we had a lot of chances – especially my one at the end, which I should be putting away,”. So we’re a little disappointed, but you can see that it’s clicking, all the boys are together and the results will come. You can see the work from the training pitch being taken into the game. We work a lot on movement and getting off the shoulder of the defenders, and unfortunately it didn’t come off this time, but it’s a matter of time before it does. We are happy, I know the fans are enjoying watching the team play, because we know it will click. Nothing is going to change in terms of the way we play. We are defensively sound – we’ve had two clean sheets in a row – and I know we’ve not scored in those games, but we know the chances will go into the net.”
Obafemi of course is right, it’s a totally new process for us all, and the expectation on the players is huge. It’s a very highly rated squad of technically brilliant players with a manager who knows exactly how it needs to be. The next phase is after the international break, up until then it’s lots of leeway for Russell Martin, much support, and an all round total belief in what he wants and says. It’s not a cut off point, that would be foolish, it’s possibly then we can review what it is he has done, and how it is going.
We have all seen positives in Martin’s way, and we have all seen the negatives, how that all comes together in one big ninety minutes and then is followed up by more positive results is yet to be seen. Russell Martin is convincing, the way the team play is convincing, all he needs now is to convert the hard work, training and discussion into reality, the pain of course is a given. It’s healthy sometimes to feel some pain. But not all the time please.
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