18 Sep 2018 00:27:13
Hi guys

Well that was nailbiting! First half positives Lemina, Hoojberg, Redmond actually producing some good runs, Danny Ings a real handful. Brighton woeful.
Second half- Everyone retreating into their shell, going 2 up never looked enough. When Brighton got their free kick I knew they would score and then you know Saints they were always going to concede. I worry about the entire back 4 Betrand and Cedric look lightweight and Hoedt and Westergaard look immobile and certainly not physically intimidating.

You can blame jwp for the penalty but he should not have been marking Duffy, it was a totally unequal physical mismatch. So we have a lack of leaders or people willing to take responsibility, these guys are highly paid seasoned pros but for me what is worse we cannot string 3 passes together and resort to hopeful long balls forward to 2 small forwards with no hope of winning them.

Again too many balls back or sideways and a lack of movement off the ball, throw ins are a waste of time and so many passes poorly weighted or poorly placed and we always look overrun in midfield. Why oh why do we keep inviting teams onto us we cannot defend, I was hopeful this season but now not all any physical teams or better passing teams which is just about everyone and we will get slaughtered. Saturday at Anfield we will be lucky to keep it to single figures.

1.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 07:16:35
We shouldn't be dropping points from a 2-0 lead at home. That should be the end of it. I don't MH made the right calls with his subs last night. Unfortunately, Brighton's first goal came straight after our second goal meaning that he probably didn't have enough time to assess the game. However, he then brings on JWP and Gabbaidini. JWP is one of the worst physical midfielders in the league. I don't know how those substitutes were meant to serve a purpose to our lead, he then went on to give away a penalty. According to the SS commentators we've had dropped 11 points from leads during MH time with us. It's now 13. He's only managed 13 games.

2.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 10:26:59
Sorry but that was pathetic. 2-0 ahead and only need to see the game out so we bring on 2 of the smallest and least defensive minded players. After that I think that we are going to struggle to finish this season anywhere other than bottom 3. How Hughes can think we'll see a game out with players that can't tackle is beyond me.

3.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 10:48:45
To me the biggest concern from start to finish was that we didn't have any kind defensive balance at all! Players just ran like headless chickens around. We made it so easy for BHA to attack even they were very poor.

4.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 11:24:58
The go to argument every time we get a bad result should not be to blame the players for not taking responsibility, not caring enough or not showing enough passion whilst adding they are highly paid. So are all Premier League players. I remain confident in the abilities of the players. Instead, when there is collective shortcoming, coaching must be an issue. I’m not talking simply about the formation here. Yes, I think a 4-4-2 in the modern game and with the players that we have is outmoded, impractical and ineffective, but I see no identity, style, plan, individual or team improvement. No tactics specific to our players strengths, nor to beat the opposition. Just the same players running around each week and playing out the same directionless 90 minutes over and over.

Last night’s result wasn’t bad luck, nor a lack of responsibility by the players. Brighton’s pen was a result of the defensive tactics used for corners. We mark zonally hence the mismatch between JWP and Duffy. If the marking was wrong, it was because the preparation and tactics were wrong rather than anyone hiding or not doing their job. Brighton specifically switched their tactics and formation to a 4-3-3 to overrun our midfield and, ignoring the limpness of the first half, for the time it was used properly in the second half, it was very effective. MH made no changes to counteract Brighton’s supremacy, a huge momentum swing in their favour, despite only an average first half from us and seeing us come under increasing pressure in the second.

But crucially, there doesn’t seem to be any plan when we attack. Its totally reliant on the individuals on the pitch working it out for themselves. I recently watched the Man City doc on Amazon and the little glimpses into Pep’s coaching were fascinating. Everyone delights in the attacking freedom of Barcelona, Bayern and Man City under Pep, but its not the freedom he gives the players that allows this; its precisely the opposite. He drills his players with and without the ball. In certain situations, the players need to be in specific positions and they repeat the action over and over so everyone knows where on the pitch they should be and the player on the ball learns instinctively where his options are. Pep shows his players where the defenders will be, whether they will press or stand off and what they should look to do in any given situation. Obviously a match doesn’t play out exactly as one predicts, but most actions will remain effective. If things aren’t working as expected, the coaching still pays off as the players have plans B and C conditioned into them from prep for other games which will still feel natural and play fluently. Incredible.

So when I see us attack and the players looking uncertain, hesitant, it just makes me think the coaching falls short. When I see us defend and look so flustered, its because the coaching is lacking. The players aren’t sure what to do and if something isn’t working, they’re not told how to fix it. MH doesn’t make changes from the touchline quickly. Even when subs came on, they didn’t improve us and invited Brighton on. Pep’s clearly a bit of a control freak, but so are most of the best managers in the world. They understand at this level, every detail, every action is crucial and can make or break the game. That’s why they want more control, not less. You can’t just hand the game to the players and say its over to you. That’s not to absolve the players for their shortcomings but I think these are exaggerated by a lack of good preparation and coaching. Are our players better than those at Bournemouth? In the main, yes. Are Bournemouth a better team? Yes. Why? Coaching. Simples.

5.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 13:32:49
Yep agree with you figo. I wondered why not a single defensive substitute came on after 2-0. we had Gabbi, Davis and JWP who gave the pen away. why did we not see Yoshida or targett? . seems obvious that brighton will try and win set pieces after their first goal. coaching does seem a bit crazy.

6.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 18:32:30
Hi figo

I agree with you regarding the coaching but I believe it goes beyond that. These are top players who have played a lot of football and too many players went missing last night, there are not enough leaders on the pitch. We all remember John Terry, Steve Bruce barking orders at everyone, we don't have that the second half too many players went missing and in the end Brighton wanted it much, much more than us, Glenn Murray was starved of any decent service but he kept going the whole 90 minutes and was never going to miss that penalty. We used to talk about a team having a spine going from keeper to forward but we don't have that! We have spent £50m this summer and we seem no better off, you mention Bournemouth and I am a big admirer of Eddie Howe, this is a team that punches above it's weight totally consistent with limited resources but when they buy a player they will spend big if necessary and they rarely make a mistake, they play entertaining football,
score goals and are always competitive and look like the new Burnley. I agree with the coaching as we could barely string 3 passes together and the idea of us playing out from the back on the ground in neat little triangles is light years away. I think that we can get hung up on formations, our problem which has been deep seated for some time before MH is we play like Manchester United happy to invite teams onto us 'defending' deep and then break the only problem is we can't defend and when we break it's normally too slow and ponderous. We lack players who will tackle consistently and hard over 90 minutes and then use the ball intelligently. Brighton were woeful in the first half and we should have created and scored more, they were there for the taking. In the past I have questioned the teams fitness as we seem unable to see out the whole 90 minutes and nothing seems to have changed, I also watched the programme on Man City and you are right Figo they play beautiful simple football and it is all about drill and repeated practice Chelsea, Liverpool are playing the same way and Wolves are a joy to watch. I feel MH needs to really get hold of this squad which we know has quality players, getting them believing in themselves and their team mates and taking personal responsibility for their positions. I hope we see a significant improvement on Saturday at Anfield as otherwise I believe we could be in for a hiding.

7.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 19:53:39
Ha Ha - we want to defend and counter but can't do either. Too true!

If the players at your disposal aren't suited to play a certain way, you play to their strengths.

We do need some sound leadership on the pitch, I can't disagree, but I feel that the players will be less flappable if they had a clear plan to follow. I just don't see one.

I'm now going to watch Liverpool take on PSG. I wonder how they'll cope against us after a dry run warm up against those guys.

8.) 18 Sep 2018
18 Sep 2018 21:04:14
I agree with you but I go back to my point these are seasoned professionals and we cannot string half a dozen passestogether, it's amateurish in the extreme.

9.) 19 Sep 2018
19 Sep 2018 09:21:30
The downfall and lack of leadership seems to have been lost when we sold Fonte. You'd expect someone to stand up and become a leader. Davis is captain, but he rarely plays anymore. Bertrand wears the armband, but I'd question his attitude towards the club. A lot of our squad still remain from our best season: Bertrand, Cedric, Romeu, Long, Yoshida, Davis, JWP.

10.) 19 Sep 2018
19 Sep 2018 16:39:49
hojbjerg for captain.