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The Players: Plenty of Blame to Go Around?


Marka Ragnos
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36 minutes ago, markavfc40 said:

I think our problems, certainly in terms of why we aren't at least looking anything like a mid table team, stem from the fact that we have no identity, we have no set way of playing. One game we go with two up top, the next we go with a two behind, the next with two sitting midfielders, the next with one sitter and two 8's. There is no consistency to how we play and I think this is having a huge impact on the players. It must be hard for an attacking player especially to get any rhythm into their game when they start one week and are on the bench the next. 

You’re pretty convincing, and I really appreciate all your careful thinking. I hope you’re right. Part of me feels like what you’re saying is just another version of The Incompetent Gerrard Vortex, and I’m having my moments where that’s how I feel, too. I don’t know. 

For a couple years, I have felt like the club rhetoric and our reputed ambitions have somewhat outrun our willingness or ability to spend resources on amazing young elite players who we are willing to stick with.

Countinho is a great name, but he wasn’t revolutionizing Barcelona. We couldn’t keep Grealish. Ings’ best footballing years are likely behind him. Ollie is great but misses a lot. Bailey is exciting but already injury-prone. Not sure we have that famous spark anywhere right now except potentially with Buendia. Please tell me I’m being too negative.

 

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The cliche is that the team is greater than the sum of the parts. I don't think we are seeing that currently.

Another cliche is that when it comes to tactics, you start with what your team is doing, not what the opposition is going to do. That is, get your identity/formations/roles/style of play sorted first - something we don't seem to have right.

For mine, this is the main remit of the manager and where SG is failing. This is not on the players, they are trying to do as they are instructed.

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Post Grealish our transfer dealings have been very muddled. We had a clear plan in summer 2020 which worked out well in bringing in younger players.

That has seemed to have been chucked into the bin and we are left with a bloated squad who are either unwilling or unable to play to a very stubborn manager's  tactics.

The whole Bailey-Ings-Buendia reasoning of replacing Jack never made any sense for example. It is a total mess. 

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16 minutes ago, The Fun Factory said:

Post Grealish our transfer dealings have been very muddled. We had a clear plan in summer 2020 which worked out well in bringing in younger players.

That has seemed to have been chucked into the bin and we are left with a bloated squad who are either unwilling or unable to play to a very stubborn manager's  tactics.

The whole Bailey-Ings-Buendia reasoning of replacing Jack never made any sense for example. It is a total mess. 

Feels big moneyball-ish to be honest. And I want to see Buendia and Bailey be incisive and both create for another and score. When Bailey got a few extra seconds against Bolton he didn’t drag or fluff his shot as he did against Bournemouth and West Ham. 
 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, jackbauer24 said:

I think one could write a very long post about 'blame' but personally I think it can be simplified somewhat, whilst recognising it isn't necessarily a perfect answer;

Basically I don't believe the players hold much blame at all, either for talent or effort. All players will have periods of poor form however. But if you're in your work place and you're not trained properly, you're not given clear roles, the aim isn't made explicit, you see valued colleagues being belittled in public, you see favourites and everyone is just doing their own thing... Well, then productivity falls, moral falls, confidence and even the most conscientious workers find it hard to motivate themselves. People can't perform to their best as the tools aren't there to do it.

In our squads case I believe most players we have are trying and do have the talent to be a 8th/9th/10th based team. But they're lost, they're demoralised and they are being asked to do things they either can't do or don't respect. Or they're getting minutes rather than a match to get into a rhythm. The midfield have to come deep resulting in high risk hollywood pass attempts. Cash and Digne being asked to do way too much from an attacking side at the cost of defensive duties. The team being asked to play it high and long despite not being a physical team... I could go on and on. I think Gerrard has shattered several players confidence, including Coutinho by putting too much pressure on him and leaving him out there when there are alternatives and he could get him out spotlight.

This is on Gerrard completely. This squad is good enough (no Gestedes) and seem to be trying (no accidental car tweets). The squad isn't the issue.

Really smart post. I don’t agree with all of it, but I agree with much of it.  I would replace the word “completely” in your last paragraph with “largely.”  I also think the emphaticness of your last sentence is a little overstated.  my favorite part of your post is how you really get at a sense of malaise spreading out to the whole style of play. That really seems spot-on. 

1 hour ago, ozvillafan said:

The cliche is that the team is greater than the sum of the parts. I don't think we are seeing that currently.

Another cliche is that when it comes to tactics, you start with what your team is doing, not what the opposition is going to do. That is, get your identity/formations/roles/style of play sorted first - something we don't seem to have right.

For mine, this is the main remit of the manager and where SG is failing. This is not on the players, they are trying to do as they are instructed.

Great post. Another one that’s very hard to argue with. My humble suggestion would be that Gerard doesn’t control Bailey’s foot or McGinn’s thigh muscles. These players are making blunders that are also all their own and they own them completely, in my opinion. Yes, maybe the conditions are terrible, but I see them squandering what look like clear chances whereas someone like, well, DeBruyne gets scraps and makes a meal of them. 
 

Danny Ings makes more in a week than most people I know are able to save in their entire lifetimes. He’s got one job. Hit the ****-ing net. 

Edited by Marka Ragnos
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Should we just ask the players to do what they do best?

Ings needs to be in front of goal playing off the shoulder, not left wing. Coutinho needs to be in the middle finding space, buendia needs to be on the pitch, Cash is a better defender than attacker etc etc.  All players have strengths and weakness and we seem to be playing to all of their weaknesses

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1 hour ago, The Fun Factory said:

Post Grealish our transfer dealings have been very muddled. We had a clear plan in summer 2020 which worked out well in bringing in younger players.

That has seemed to have been chucked into the bin and we are left with a bloated squad who are either unwilling or unable to play to a very stubborn manager's  tactics.

The whole Bailey-Ings-Buendia reasoning of replacing Jack never made any sense for example. It is a total mess. 

I think Bailey and Buendia will turn out to be fine signings, once we get a proper manager in.

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3 hours ago, Marka Ragnos said:

I think I have a better sense now, as many of us do, of the Gerrard management regime’s current weaknesses and the desperate, toothless, weird lack of identity in his recent tactics. Got that. 

But I just re-watched the West Ham match — and I encourage others to do so if they can withstand the misery — and I think it’s hard to miss the repeated cringeworthy failures of our players to connect shots and passes. Jesus. Shot after shot of almosts and one flubbed pass after another.

Where is our quality?

Yes, tactics and player quality are to an extent indissoluble, but player quality issues also can be a pretty severe problem in their own right. I feel our next manager can’t mask those.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not “blaming the players,” or letting Gerrard off the hook.

I think it’s more complicated than that.

But Ings looks tired and very “almost.” Watkins’ form is inconsistent. McGinn’s aim is disastrous. Countinho is off target and slow as ****. Bailey’s shooting is high. Etc etc.

To me it seems like there’s a lot of blame to go around at the moment. Even if Gerrard does leave. He’s not the only problem.

I’m not sure that having a more consistent system or better training or having the players get to know each other better will resolve such quality issues. 

Your reasoning is fairly sound.

I disagree though.

This is Steven Gerrard's doing... because he doesn't know what he's doing. We are giving a guy who doesn't know his arse from his managerial elbow £6m a year.

If we turn it round now, and fly up the league. Someone clever like Brighton come and offer the manager's job to Critchley when Potter leaves. We're left with what? Gerrard looking players in the eye.

Not only should he be sacked, I can't see any club that would hire him again. Not cut out for it. Not good enough. What could they possibly see to want him as manager? @jim? I don't understand.

 

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He is the 2020's version of Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough who was also a  former famous all action midfielder who underperformed with (at the time) a high spending club. Edit- probably the wrong thread for this sentence!

Overall I would say most of the blame has to be on the manager for our poor start, rather than the players.

Edited by The Fun Factory
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You can't blame the quality of the players, okay they may have downed tools, but if Potter, Viera, even Marsch can get a game out their random players, I'm sure another manager can get some quality out of ours. I'm sticking to my guns, on paper we should be a top 10 team, but the team need to know what they are doing and work alot lot harder on the pitch.

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All on the coach for me. Players are motivated by a good coach who communicates his ideas well. What you’re describing during Sunday’s game is players with zero motivation because they don’t understand what they’re being asked to do.

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Weird tactics. At least if he stuck with his two number 10’s there’d be a method for the madness as both Coutinho and Buendia would be on the pitch. 

We were controlling the game but not looking that threatening, so he takes off part of the control and brings on someone to compound the problem.

JJ isn’t someone who controls the game he enhances it. His driving runs would have been a perfect foil for Luiz and Kamara.

Instead Kamara was left trying to collect water in a paper colander. 

Withdraw and tuck in the full backs slightly, play with Bailey and Buendia on the flanks and have Luiz Kamara and Ramsey/Sanson or McGinn in the middle. 

If we still play shite it’s on the players of course. Atm it’s 95% management and tactics and the rest is on the players imo.

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9 hours ago, jackbauer24 said:

Basically I don't believe the players hold much blame at all, either for talent or effort. All players will have periods of poor form however. But if you're in your work place and you're not trained properly, you're not given clear roles, the aim isn't made explicit, you see valued colleagues being belittled in public, you see favourites and everyone is just doing their own thing... Well, then productivity falls, moral falls, confidence and even the most conscientious workers find it hard to motivate themselves. People can't perform to their best as the tools aren't there to do it.

Totally agree with this

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You only have to look at the analysis on MOTD2 to see its not the players fault. 

Micah Richards was almost stunned when talking about Danny Ings overlapping the lb. The fact coutinho was never in a good position. 

Look at the average position map against all teams so far. 

Do the players lack quality at times? Of course. But that's made 1000 times worse by the horrendous tactics and coaching. 

 

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No players are to blame for me. Nobody is not giving 100 percent, this is not 2015/16 is no bad eggs in the squad just on the bench

Edited by Zatman
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