Things We Sort Of Learned: Sheffield United (H)

It was a hard watch again on Saturday as City were put to the sword and cut to pieces by the ever so sharp Blades. Richard Jeffery was there and has to write about it, so here you go. You might want to sit down, have a cup of tea or hug a stranger afterwards.

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Have a blow lads

Despite the seemingly huge numbers of experts in the physical conditioning of football players that we have among our fanbase who have avowed otherwise, it was clear to see from very early on that there were tired bodies and minds out there on Saturday.

On another day, we’d have been more mentally awake and not left three opposition players unmarked on the edge of the six yard box for their first goal. Likewise Alex Tettey’s underhit back pass and Angus’ wrong decision were the choices and actions of tired minds, though saying that, Tettey’s handful of minutes at Chelsea must have taken a real toll.

Add to that some clumsy play and a lot of misplaced passes and it wasn’t a great day at the office.

No complaints and no excuses (was that a Radiohead song?). We were beaten by the better team on the day. Vibrant in attack and on it like a tramp on a greasy chip butty, United executed their game plan well and were too good for us. Suck it up.

Dr. Richard prescribes a rest for the boys, and then lets go again.

Wes

We didn’t really get going until the introduction of Wes & Super Mario. Wes was at his probing and twinkling best, with sublime touches and a desire to get on the front foot. He’s been forgotten by many in the hoo-har over Pritchard leaving, but he showed he still has it and still has a big part to play.

Daniel Farke has gone through the period each new Norwich manager does, it lasts about half a season, of not knowing how and why to use Wes. Let’s hope he saw the value he still holds for this team.

Evergreen, he has never relied on pace (luckily), so even at the age of 35 he’s still an effective playmaker.

AND I LOVE HIM.

Home, a groan

Yes, yes, the project, only one striker, time to settle, not his squad yet, financial reality etc. I get that, and am on board with it all.

But not blindly.

The ‘entertainment’ on offer at home this season has been poor to say the least. We’ve won just four league matches at nFCR this season. Thankfully we have managed six away from home. Not only that we’re not scoring enough goals and the system is predictable and easy to play against.

Yet nothing seems to change to address it.

To put this season in perspective, in 2008- 2009 - the season we went down to League One - we managed nine home wins alongside just three away. We managed ten away wins in 2010 - 2001 Championship promotion season as a comparison.

So we’re on target for promotion away and in dire trouble at home.

I’m renewing, it’s what you do right? But I hear a lot of people questioning whether they will or not, and it will be interesting to see how many don’t.

Fans will take dour performances as long as the team are winning, but we’re not and in many ways the crowd has been very patient. The odd booer or two apart.

I hear people opining that our style is better suited to the Premier League than the Championship. It may well be but that’s not a reflection of our quality, rather that we set up as if we’re going to try and defend and hit teams on the counter, the classic tactic of a team that’s outgunned in terms of quality. That may be fine when you’re playing Arsenal or Chelsea reserves in a cup game with nothing really on it, but at home in the Championship we should be aiming to take the game to teams.

Away from home, having two sitting midfielders is a fine tactic as our away win tally suggests and an away season ticket seems a good investment.

Daniel Farke says he likes his players to be protagonists with the ball, to make things happen. Well, I’ve yet to see it in how his team plays.

We remain slow in transition, lack numbers getting forward and are very one dimensional and predictable.

This must be addressed. Or else, I’ll just continue to turn up like a dog returning to its own vomit, you just see if I don’t.