Few thoughts following Saturday's game and our managers comments on the game
David Jeffrey ‘We got it right defensively’
Apart from the last minute equaliser from a set piece (though at least it wasn’t a cup semi-final). Now bear in mind we played a fairly awful Newry side, who no one else in the league has scored less goals than, conceding a last minute equaliser to that team is not getting it right defensively. Add in the fact that it was a totally bizarre, and not up for the job defence selected. And that’s not my opinion, it is also David Jeffrey’s view. Why else (Jim Ervin aside) would Aidan O’Kane, Noel Bailie and Steven Douglas have only played 11 games between them all season if they were good enough?
Instead we have three defenders on the bench, all young players who seem to have potential but obviously he doesn’t just trust them. Take Aaron Burns, he’s a young player learning the game but surely he’ll learn with each mistake and improve, does Aidan O’Kane really offer anything more than him? Believe it or not the support will have patience with young players, but when you revert to players who have failed before such patience wears thin.
David Jeffrey ‘Played some super football in the first half’
No we didn’t. We never play super football. Actually for a small period this season we threatened too in my opinion, when we played 4-3-3 we at least showed some imagination with the ball and players showed some initiative. Instead we’ve returned to 4-4-2, which tends to be enough to get the job done in the Irish League but is horrible to watch the way we play it.
It’s obvious Jeffrey just sends the players out with the game plan to win their own personal battles, and 9 times out of ten they will, because they better and fitter than their opposite numbers. Our game-plan is to grind teams down and to find a way to score. It’s rarely easy on the eye though, and more a case of exploiting the ordinariness of other teams rather than our own good football, or even a bit of skill.
David Jeffrey ‘the problem was upfront’
Again, it wasn’t. At least not for the majority of us watching. Fair enough we missed some very good opportunities but that happens, and the groans from the crowd come from a sustained run of poor performances. The main problem (apart from the creaky defence) is out wide. Look at our first choice right sided midfielder, Philip Lowry.
Now firstly, he’s a very good player, got a good engine on him, can pick a pass and has an eye for goal. He performed very well at the start of his Linfield career in his natural position of central midfield, then due to our over-abundance of central midfielders got shifted out wide. He does a reasonable job out wide, is a willing runner, chips in with a few goals. But he’s not the wide sort of player fans like to see, he’s got no pace, can’t skin a defender and you wouldn’t say he has great delivery from out wide. It would be ok if we have a natural winger on the left but we don’t, and in Hanley we seem to have unearthed a left sided Lowry. Our whole mindset is to outwork teams, and beat them through determination rather than skill or good team football.
Linfield FC.com Man of the Match – Robbie Garrett
Probably the opinion of the vast majority of the crowd too, judging by the crowd reaction to his substitution. If you weren’t at the game that might be surprising, why would anyone take off their best player at only 1-0? Is it to save him for the big cup replay against non-League Dunmurry? Why does only one of Garrett/Mulgrew start games, and whoever starts must always be replaced by the other (regardless of performance) at the 75 minute mark? Another Robbie Garrett question, why have we not got him to sign a new deal yet?
This was posted on SSS earlier in the season, and nothing’s changed -
Whilst success at Linfield is demanded, the time has come to look for a bit more. Not just to get more fans into grounds, but to keep the existing fans interested. With the amount of football available through other sources the football we produced must be attacking and attractive, it’s no longer enough to succeed by getting the job done and no more. Obviously this isn’t possible all the time, but it’s got to go back to being entertaining rather than the obligation it seems at some times at the minute, and with the squad we have it’s not an unrealistic ask.