A full 48 hours after the game against Wigan and I am still apoplectic with rage – with the manager and his stupid substitutions, the team and their pathetic complacent display and with myself for believing that we actually could have learnt something during our dip. If this game proved one thing, it is that we are big game Charlie’s – just watch Liverpool go to Wigan and win this evening.
What makes me even more angry is that I’m not sure if AVB’s substitutions were just naïve, simply mis-judged or demonstrated that despite being in the job now for six months he is yet to grasp the fundamental short-comings of this team/squad. His post-match interview revealed next to nothing and if it were possible just made me even angrier.
He spoke about the fact that Wigan had momentum – what momentum? We had momentum – (past tense now obviously) winning three big games on the bounce for all the good it did us. He said that it wouldn’t affect our confidence – really? Perhaps he would have liked to have come and spoken to the supporters after the game – there is little confidence in him or the team at the moment. The body language of the players as they trudged off also demonstrated anything but confidence to me.
Truth be told, I had the hump as soon as I heard the team – you would have thought that following the story about Torres leaving for £20 million, the subsequent denial, and then announcement that he was very much part of Chelsea’s future plans AND the fact that we had a tough game the following Thursday, Torres was virtually guaranteed a starting place – but no, not only didn’t he start – AVB actually bought on Kalou!!
What is that about? Is that meant to be an AVB attempt at flicking the Vs at the press? What must Torres have thought? I would be bewildered and furious if I were in his shoes. In fact, seemingly, whenever there seems to be a perfect opportunity to give Torres some playing time, he manages to not just deny him that playing time, but goes for the ultimate humiliation. I doubt this is a management tactic he’d have picked up from Mourinho or Sir Bobby.
And speaking of ill-conceived management decisions, to try and hang onto a one nil lead against Wigan demonstrates not only naivety by AVB, but also a lack of confidence in his playing personnel and his own tactics, and that does not bode well whichever way you look at it.
So what happens now? Another rally of the troops by the “senior players” of the squad? Yaaaaaawwwnnnn….heard it all before – at best a temporary fix, at worst, a confirmation that the team decide to turn it on and off when they want. Benching of those that didn’t perform? Not only is the bench not big enough but our squad does not have enough strength in depth to accommodate such action.
And what of the management team? There are mistakes being made here – this cannot be denied. As much as Di Matteo is a Chelsea legend, does AVB need someone with more experience assisting him? I would say yes. I never really understood his appointment anyway – I can’t see the connection and doubt he was an AVB choice. Although I am having my doubts about our manager, I still think we should stick by him. There are few real other candidates around at the moment, he can’t be judged until at least a year in the job and with a squad with key players chosen by him and we simply cannot keep sacking managers – it has, indirectly led us to where we find ourselves today.
The players need to understand that there are consequences for them too when we go through pitiful form like this – that it will not always be the manager who is put to the sword.
Too many players have been putting in too little effort and work and still collecting their pay-cheques while successive managers collect their P45s – what kind of message does that send out?
But it is a catch 22 situation – how do you expect the players to play their best when the tactics are flawed or at least currently unsuitable?
I really don’t know what to expect over the next few weeks – there is no way of predicting which Chelsea will turn up at any given time. As always it’s not a question of winning or losing as such for most supporters – we need to believe that the players have given it their very best – that they are as gutted as we are following a capitulation such as this was. Sadly, I am finding it harder and harder to believe such things – seemingly it’s only the next multi-million pound contract that is at the forefront of their minds.
Anyway, ho ho ho and all that – hope you all have a good one.