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Tom

December Results

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Thought it was worth looking back on December and the chances missed and how it’s gone south!

1st December home v Sheffield Wednesday

4-2 win 

December started well with a relatively routine win over Wednesday bar a couple of scares with goals conceded 

 

8th December away at Middlesbrough

1-1 draw 

A point would have been respectable here but they were down to 10 men and we went 1-0 up after 15 or so minutes only to sit back and concede, 2 points dropped!

 

15th December home to Birmingham 

2-2 draw 

2-0 up and coasting to a routine win then 2 goals in a matter of minutes late on and another 2 points dropped!

 

22nd December home to Norwich 

0 - 1 loss 

A scrappy game and one that was pretty even for the most part until we made our subs including one of the worst cameos I can recall From Brereton and another late goal and us not threatening afterwards resulted in a loss, potentially another point thrown away.

 

26th December away at Leeds 

3-2 loss

Another tough place to go but again we were in a great position with 2 set piece Mulgrew goals getting us into a 90th minute lead only to then somehow concede 2 in injury time and come away with nothing!

 

29th December away at Sheffield United

3-0 loss

Mass changes for this one and at half time it looked good with the players that came in performing, they then go down to 10 men and we make subs and then it all goes wrong with smallwood getting sent off and us conceding 3 in quick succession, another point (or more) slipped away!

 

It’s grim looking back, in every game we’ve been in a great position to get a positive result and have come away with 5 points from the month and we’ve thrown away up to 9 points from strong positions!

I know we have had a thread about where to go from here but I’m just wondering what’s gone wrong there, too much for it all to be coincidental, is it fitness? Complacency?

 

 

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Fitness for me.  Tired legs equals tired minds and it's always chaos at the end. Desperate play.  The backroom needs an overhaul in my opinion. That Dave chap looks like he's got a bad back

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Go back to November and it's even grimmer. Hard to believe at one point we were all discussing the possibility of a top six finish - some more seriously than others. Now we're looking far more likely to end the season in the bottom six. 

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I can remember some crap Christmas periods under various managers it never seems too kind to Rovers for some reason. I'd like to think we are having all the bad luck/poor form/against the run of play type stuff all at once but i'm not so sure about that there's a fundamental weakness in the shock physically and mentally and around the approach to things that's been evident for years still.

I think maybe at the end of the day the whole thing just isn't quite good enough yet still.

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A similar January and we may well start February on the brink of the bottom 3. Fitness is clearly a massive issue and that lies squarely with the manager. Players have been found out, the fight and spirit have gone and been replace by a soft touch who role over too easily.

Most worryingly of all there is no sign of it changing we looking clueless in how to create from open play and just rely on Dack or Graham to produce something and the defence get's worse game by game. Nyambe's been poor since coming back from injury, Lenihan is unrecognisable from the player of the previous few seasons, Bennett is not a full back and it doesn't seem to matter who play's left back they are as awful as each other. I know Williams isn't the most popular on here but I've always thought him steady the last couple seasons but since he's come back from injury he looks like someone who has never played the game before.

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Cannot repeatedly be getting into great positions then end up with nothing without there being a huge issue with player fitness throughout the squad.

This is just basic.

Unfortunately this is not something we can do much about at this stage of the season. Pre-season preparation must have been inadequate.

 

Edited by philipl

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2 minutes ago, Gavlar Somerset Rover! said:

1 win in 9 is diabolical form. Will be ten after NYD. He needs a win from Millwall or Ipswich to keep his job for me.

Same here. Those 2 are absolute must wins. 

I can't see Venkys pulling the trigger before then, even after the inevitable humpings we are about to take from West Brom and Newcastle.

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1 minute ago, DeeCee said:

Said it before on a different thread, I thought fitness was a big thing for TM?

If it is then his fitness methods are outdated.

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The other way of looking at it though is that, despite a run of games against tougher opposition, in each game we’ve been in the game and could, and probably should, have taken something from each of them. 

Of course it’s disappointing/frustrating/unsettling/insert your own verb of choice here/ to keep throwing away leads and conceding late goals, but I think the fact that we were in decent positions late on in each of those games suggests that there’s not a massive amount wrong and, like Mowbray says, it’s just fine margins and a bit more quality (and maybe experience) needed. 

 

I know, I know - I’m just a happy clappy, Mowbray apologist and I need to give my head a wobble - but I just thought it might give some balance to the sky is falling stuff that fills 90% of the board

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How can it be fine margins. Look at Williams,  he's shit every time he plays. Against Norwich, fairly comfortable at the back,  Charlie comes off for Williams and hes left pukki all alone. His distribution is shocking and hes always responsible for goals against or crosses against.  He keeps playing him....that's not fine margins its shitty team selection and recruitment....same with Smallwood Armstrong and a few others gladwin etc

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But then the argument must be that, if so many of our players are so terrible (as is often suggested on here), we must be performing miracles to even be in with a chance of taking something from games. You’d think, given how crap we are, that we would be getting spanked 3 or 4 nil every week. 

The fact that we’re not makes me think that we’re not too far away - maybe it is just a fitness issue, maybe a confidence thing, maybe just one or two players away - I don’t know. But I also don’t think it’s quite as bad as it’s sometimes painted as being on here

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It's the same ones really, so let's just replace them and yes we might knock on the play offs.  He needs to find a starting place for Rothwell on a good run of games.  Our only midfield player capable of creating anything from nothing at the moment. 

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33 minutes ago, DaveyB said:

The other way of looking at it though is that, despite a run of games against tougher opposition, in each game we’ve been in the game and could, and probably should, have taken something from each of them. 

Of course it’s disappointing/frustrating/unsettling/insert your own verb of choice here/ to keep throwing away leads and conceding late goals, but I think the fact that we were in decent positions late on in each of those games suggests that there’s not a massive amount wrong and, like Mowbray says, it’s just fine margins and a bit more quality (and maybe experience) needed. 

 

I know, I know - I’m just a happy clappy, Mowbray apologist and I need to give my head a wobble - but I just thought it might give some balance to the sky is falling stuff that fills 90% of the board

Clutching at straws for me. Look at the team under Coyle and most of the time we were edged out. It was the frequency of that happening, and of us leaking goals that made it clear there was nothing to suggest that those fine margins would swing consistently in our favour.

A team with the momentum of a promotion behind it and one hardly cheap to assemble and sustain shouldnt be so fragile. There are so many symptoms of a team not working to anywhere near what it should be. In our run of 1 win in 8, weve lost 2 by 3 goals, 1 by 2 goals, 2 more with late goals, weve picked up 1 point from 2 games in which our opponent have suffered red cards and we are leaking goals at a Coyle like rate. The football is boring to watch and weve no idea what our best team is.

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8 hours ago, DaveyB said:

The fact that we’re not makes me think that we’re not too far away - maybe it is just a fitness issue, maybe a confidence thing, maybe just one or two players away - I don’t know.

I don't disagree with your points about being well into all of these tough games this month. The problem is that "just fitness" and "just confidence" are probably two of the biggest on-pitch problems around. The former is an absolute basic, and the latter is contagious.

Mowbray really has his work cut out next month - a transfer window to deal with, and getting results to see off a huge drop in form - and I think we're going to really see what he's made of as a manager who can carry on here or not.

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15 hours ago, philipl said:

Pre-season preparation must have been inadequate.

 

Pre-season has been inadequate for years. Another symptom of being run by Venkys with their bonkers June summit meeting - nothing can be done or planned until they approve it. 

I'd bet other clubs at this level would already have outline plans for recruitment, friendlies and training camps for next summer, I'd also bet that we'll have none of those, the manager won't have the first idea what the plan or budget will be and won't find out until we're playing catch up.

We need a Technical Director who knows the industry who can be on with this sort of thing now so we can hit the ground running in future, not running around at the last minute.

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9 hours ago, DaveyB said:

But then the argument must be that, if so many of our players are so terrible (as is often suggested on here), we must be performing miracles to even be in with a chance of taking something from games. You’d think, given how crap we are, that we would be getting spanked 3 or 4 nil every week. 

The fact that we’re not makes me think that we’re not too far away - maybe it is just a fitness issue, maybe a confidence thing, maybe just one or two players away - I don’t know. But I also don’t think it’s quite as bad as it’s sometimes painted as being on here

Agree. I don't think we're a bad team or it's a hopeless situation. Factor in that we should have won against a number of weaker teams in the division early on and it's clear we are competitive in this division.

The problem is this is the most competitive division and any mistakes are brutally punished and exposed. For me there are two key issues causing this slump - mental and physical softness. So many points have been lost in the latter stages of the game either by collapsing or not turning the screws to our advantage.

The positive and problem is that both are sortable from the manager. We have a decent squad - most are of decent championship quality which as Sheff Utd are showing this year and many other teams over the year is what's needed. What needs to happen is the squad needs to toughen up. The bug question is can TM do that?

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16 hours ago, Bbrovers2288 said:

Fitness is what iv heard, and looking at dack, it shows

He's always looked more Rooney than Ronaldo. But back in pre-season a lot of us here were surprised how strong he looked in the Everton friendly game.

Whatever he was doing over summer appears to have been working better than what he's been doing lately.

It seems we were all talking about how unfit our team was 4-5 years ago, and yet here we are still . . . .

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Have we ever gone 0/12 over Christmas before as we are threatning to do?

I can't recall it although that period can't have been particularly good under Lambert.

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1 hour ago, RevidgeBlue said:

Have we ever gone 0/12 over Christmas before as we are threatning to do?

I can't recall it although that period can't have been particularly good under Lambert.

We got 1/12 under Lambert.

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19 hours ago, DaveyB said:

But then the argument must be that, if so many of our players are so terrible (as is often suggested on here), we must be performing miracles to even be in with a chance of taking something from games. You’d think, given how crap we are, that we would be getting spanked 3 or 4 nil every week. 

The fact that we’re not makes me think that we’re not too far away - maybe it is just a fitness issue, maybe a confidence thing, maybe just one or two players away - I don’t know. But I also don’t think it’s quite as bad as it’s sometimes painted as being on here

If its a fitness issue who's to blame? and why should we have a fitness issue?

1) we've had as much time to get fit as anyone else

2) Didn't TM tell us players coming here found our fitness regime tougher than the club's they'd come from?

If its a fitness issue some serious questions need to be put to those responsible. Accountability required here.

As for the rest of your post we  were looking at the play-offs, now we are left with avoiding relegation. Complacency won't fix it.

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1 hour ago, MarkBRFC said:

Think it was actually 0/9 under Lambert at Christmas as our boxing day game with Middlesborough was postponed.

Yeah, I was going back to 14 Dec to get the four games. If you look at the purely festive fixtures it was indeed 0/9. That was a pretty miserable time. After beating Rotherham on Dec 11 we didn't win another game until Feb 16. 9 games without a win, 4 points out of 27. Still ended up staying up pretty comfortably in the end.  

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