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In Defence of John Sheridan


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OK, so we're out of the Carling Cup and disappointed to have lost to a Burnley side whose early league form meant a decent following headed to Turf Moor with a little more confidence than usual.

 

Why do I think he got it right?

 

1) The players he rested were Liddell, Hughes, Crossley and Gregan - these guys are, in the nicest possible way, getting on a bit and keeping them fresh for a long trip to Colchester makes a lot of sense.

 

2) Allesandra is, for me, our prized asset. He has the most intelligent footballing brain I've seen at this level so ensuring he remains fit and available is as key to winning promotion as Hughes remaining fit and Whittaker remaining creative in midfield. Lewis Allesandra seems to know where his strike partner is, know what the nearest three defenders are thinking and can shield a ball better than any other player on the pitch.

 

3) Playing the 4-5-1 / 4-3-3 rather than 4-4-2 is not something that I would normally want to see. But to have the ability to have a fall-back system that players are comfortable to switch to in matches where things are not going right will give is a flexibility at key points in the season to turn dour draws in to wins and defeats in to draws. I'm not saying it necessarily went to plan at Burnley, but it does give the manager an idea of what personnel can adapt best to different formations and what he needs to do to tweak it next time he tries it. I would even go as far as suggesting he should play the same sort of formation against Morecambe and shuffle around the personnel a little to see if it can be improved on. I'd rather do this in the Carling Cup / JPT than risk losing points to a future promotion rival.

 

 

What do I think the keys to success this season will be?

 

1) Hughes, Whittaker and Allesandra. While we have Whittaker in the middle and at least one of the other two up front I think we will win significantly more games than we lose. Hughes is simply class and Allesandra would take about 5 minutes to form a partnership with <insert name of any crap striker who has graced BP over the years> that will deliver goals.

 

2) Playing 4-4-2 most of the time. It is clearly a system that works best and most of the times that we have changed it in recent seasons we have looked mediocre. I still think Shez is spot on to try and have a fall-back system to switch to when our opponents are hurting us.

 

3) Squad depth. Despite the words of Mr Corney, I do think that he has invested heavily over the summer and has backed the manager in a way that is unheard of for most clubs at this level. Before he starts selling, he needs to give this investment a little time to pay dividends and needs to get smart with the marketing that he puts behind it.

 

4) Use of substitutes. Building on (3), the intelligent use of substitutes to keep key players fresh and to change games where needed is vital. It worked a miracle against Millwall and failed against Burnley, when the benefit of hindsight says it should have been done at half time.

 

 

What are the key threats to success this season:

 

1) Injury to Danny Whittaker as we have nobody to replace him in that elusive 'creative' role.

 

2) Injury to Hughes and Allesandra at the same time. I'm confident that with either on the pitch we have a strong strikeforce. With neither I think we have genuine issues. From the little I've seen of Davies and O'Grady, Davies is my first choice replacement for them. I'd be comfortable with an O'Grady / Allesandra duo up fornt but thing a Davies / O'Grady duo is slightly scary.

 

3) Danny Whittaker losing form. Port Vale fans didn't seem worried about him leaving a relegated side because he could seem disinterested. This will be a major challenge for Shez should it happen, because replacing the guy with the likes of Maher etc could lead to a timid "let's pass the ball around the midfield without ever joining up with the strikers" kind of game that we saw way too much of last season.

 

4) TTA selling out the squad from underneath us before it's had a time to repay the faith they have shown in assembling it. That said, if we get offered silly money for any player I think the club should take it. With the exception of Hughes, Allesandra and Whittaker.

 

5) Fans getting on players backs way too easily. We have our part to play, and while we are entitled to be frustrated occasionally I do think that getting behind this team for 90 minutes a game will give us the results the club owes us.

 

6) Reserve players in the depths of the squad not being of the right mind-set or fitness level to step up when needed. Mr Czuczman the physio is the key man here!

 

 

So what's our form at BP since we last lost a cup game (Huddersfield) there?

 

P13 W10 D2 L1 F33 A11

 

This is bloody fantastic and while one or two of the performances were dire, we have seen some tremendous games too, and not just this season.

 

While not liking the way Mr Corney has lectured us, the economic realities within his message are obvious enough. Things are looking up at Boundary Park and it's time to grab friends, family, grandads who used to go, mates back from university, kids, friends of kids and more and get them down to Boundary Park week in week out.

 

Get the place rocking and watch this side steam to automatic promotion ahead of Leeds and Leicester!

Edited by opinions4u
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Sorry. I have to disagree. Shez got it completely wrong last night, apart from resting certain players. Tactically, he got it as Pete Tong as you can do.

 

Playing 1 up front. This only works when you have 2 wingers who will support the lone striker by moving up quickly to turn 1 man attack into 3 men. Instead, O'Grady was made to toil on his own, win the ball and then find his peers were nowhere near him. I hate to use them as an example, but Man United employ this so effectively, namely because they have quality players like Ronaldo and Evra who turn into attackers ever so quickly.

 

We were as toothless up front as one of Alan's newborns. It only changed when we brought on Hughes and Lewi and had 2 up front causing problems. For me, Shez should have begun the match with 2 up front, perhaps still resting Hughes and/or Lewi, but at least we'd have carried more of a threat going forward. The most annoying thing for me, was that even after an hour, when it was plain to see this 4-5-1 formation wouldn't work in a month of Sundays (it was probably as apparent after about 15 mins in fact), Shez still wouldn't change it by moving Smalley up front and shifting one of the midfielders out wide.

 

And how much of a dejá vu was last night? Even one of their goals was identical to last season with the keeper lumping a big punt forward as an assist. Sorry, not many positives I can take from last night methinks.

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Sorry, not many positives I can take from last night methinks.

 

There is one positive, we are out of the second most poxy cup that we are automatically entered in, less potential for fixture congestion and injuries/ suspensions. We should have gone out at Dale and avoided this game. The only time we should give any credence to this cup is when we are an established side in the Championship and can have a proper crack at winning it as most clubs in the land don't give two figs for it. Even Spurs who won it last year are slightly embarrassed by it.

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Agree J, agree totally!!!

 

With a squad like ours, depth wise, I'm all for keeping things fresh but playing O'Grady up front on his own for 70 mins and booting it up to him constantly was pathetic. The 1 in 10 that he actually won was soon lost as there was no one anywhere near him. O'Grady looked decent pre-season playing alongside another striker. Now Shez aint doing him any favours. Left wing at Dale, lone striker at Burnley.

 

Sorry, we've a system that's worked for 3 games this season. OK change personnel but why change formation? And what is it with these modern day managers??!!! You can only play two central midfielders. Why are we trying to accomodate more?

 

E4e

VPOOR

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With a squad like ours, depth wise, I'm all for keeping things fresh but playing O'Grady up front on his own for 70 mins and booting it up to him constantly was pathetic. The 1 in 10 that he actually won was soon lost as there was no one anywhere near him. O'Grady looked decent pre-season playing alongside another striker. Now Shez aint doing him any favours. Left wing at Dale, lone striker at Burnley.

 

Aye Nik. Absolutely. To be fair to O'Grady, I thought he worked hard but with no support (and I firmly blame Taylor and Smalley here, as they were meant to join him quickly) it all just went to waste.

 

And poxy competition it may be, but had we pulled an Everton/Liverpool/United out in the next round, even with them playing their ressies we'd have had a decent crowd and kept TTA happy. It's all the more galling given how poor Burnley were but still won.

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Sorry. I have to disagree. Shez got it completely wrong last night, apart from resting certain players. Tactically, he got it as Pete Tong as you can do.

In the context of a single game in a minor cup competition, I agree.

 

In the context of a promotion building season, he did exactly the right thing. This was the match where he wanted to find out what other dimensions he could use as the season progresses.

 

Fitness permitting, there is no doubt he should start 4-4-2 in every league game. But to have the option of easily switching formation mid-match when it looks like it's going tits up is a major weapon that successful sides have up their sleeves. To build the foundations against Burnley in a minor cup is the time to do it. Better than experimenting at Elland Road me thinks.

 

Will be miffed if Burnley get Man Utd away next round, but that's the way it goes.

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Aye Nik. Absolutely. To be fair to O'Grady, I thought he worked hard but with no support (and I firmly blame Taylor and Smalley here, as they were meant to join him quickly) it all just went to waste.

 

And poxy competition it may be, but had we pulled an Everton/Liverpool/United out in the next round, even with them playing their ressies we'd have had a decent crowd and kept TTA happy. It's all the more galling given how poor Burnley were but still won.

 

I could see where Shez was coming from last night.

 

Firstly, he has made it clear that he has a big squad and that he was going to use it, particularly for the cup games.

 

Secondly, Burnley were playing 4-5-1 as they did on Saturday at Palace aparently and so he matched them up to try and ensure that we were not overrun in midfield. However, it didn't help that we conceeded after 12 minutes. I think he was then hoping to keep things as they were and snatch an equaliser.

 

Thirdly, as he was about to change things for the last 20 mins to chase he game, we conceeded the 2nd goal having given the ball away cheaply. At that point he either had to accept that it was game over or chase it anyway.

 

Whilst I am not a particular fan of 4-5-1 (I prefer 4-2-3-1) I could see his thinking last night. However, I don't think we have a forward who plays the lone role well. O'Grady whilst he is a grafter does suffer from playing up front by himself, but there again, would Hughes's legs do the chasing down that O'Grady does or young Allessandra for that matter.

 

So the question really is should he have stuck with 4-4-2? We lost the game so it's easy to say yes we should. What I would say is that after the changes we looked more threataning, but there again, we were 2 down chasing the game and Burnley could afford to sit back and pick us off on the break. It would have been interesting though to see how Burnley reacted if Alessandra's effort had gone in.

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Harry

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if throwing players on with 20 mins left and telling them to run there arse off to save the game is resting them then he got it right. as it stands, most would agree that is about as akin to rest as ice cream for tea is when on a diet. so, this thread is wrong, and so was shez.

hope burnley dont get a good draw now, would like to hear what corney thinks if we did.

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