Welcome back to a post, please accept my apologies for the lack of content! Saturday saw Neil Harris’s side lose yet again at home, making it four defeats from our opening four home league games. Despite having the best away record, we now also have the the worst away record in the division. 4-0 defeat to Coventry, 3-2 defeat to Barnsley, 2-0 defeat to Chesterfield, followed by another 2-0 loss to Southend. It’s worse to take when read out loud, barring Coventry, who should win the league the other three games would’ve been considered potential 9 points on fixture release day. Let’s cheer ourselves up with out away results; 2-1 win at Shrewsbury, a goalless draw at Scunthorpe, followed by a 3-1 and 2-0 win at Crewe and Port Vale earlier this week.
What has gone wrong in all these home games? Do we blame team selection from the manager? Or does the blame lay with the players who just can’t seem to do it at The Den? I myself have gone through many different motions and thoughts as to why we cannot win at home. At first I thought it was the fans, yes a player should do their job and be able to under pressure, but it’s felt like for a long while that our own fans almost wait for a player to make a mistake. Once the first mistake is made the fans are quick to give stick to the players, which when compared to our away form, we have fans that our more patient and perhaps less expectant as we are playing away from home. However on Saturday it felt like the fans made an effort and stuck with the players, from the first whistle to the end.
So What went wrong? Here’s a few points that stuck out in my mind walking out of the ground on Saturday:
3 games in a week, a busy schedule playing on both Saturday and Tuesday away, we had managed to get a couple of great results with changes kept to a minimum. However it felt like the standouts in those games; Aiden O’Brien and Fred Onyedinma to name a few were missing that cutting edge we are used to seeing. Could they have perhaps sat out and chances given to the likes of Paris Cowan-Hall and Lee Gregory? Harris after the game mentioned that he felt that despite having chances we didn’t look like taking those that fell our way. Stating that he regrets not making more changes to the starting XI, hindsight is a great tool but a few players looked well off the pace. Would a more experienced manager have made that mistake? Who knows, but I’m sure Harris will learn from this and moving forward know what to do when in a similar situation. I still have no doubt that Harris will be our manager for years to come, but I still believe he is missing an experienced coach in his back room team. The Millwall characters are there with Livermore and Frampton, but perhaps that can only do so much.
Leading on from the above perhaps inexperience is showing from Harris and his staff with our lineup when at home. To his credit, he has tried to change it in the games we’ve lost, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening for us. Whether it’s a coincidence or not, but managers that have come here this season and won, and also took clean sheets are experienced managers who have been around the block a few times. The likes of Phil Brown, Dean Saunders and Tony Mowbray have all come and setup in the same way. Keeping it tight for the first half hour and attempt to nick a goal out of nothing, perhaps unlucky for us this has happened on all three occasions, we will have the first few chances but fail to convert those that come our way. Missing a penalty against Coventry or missing a one-on-one this Saturday. It seems to be happening over and over again, and it seems we are powerless to it, now the question is how do we stop it? Am I right to think it could be the tactics or are we just unlucky? Do we need to take the lead in a game to allow us to win?
Whether it be the experienced players or the youngsters we just don’t see the same performance we get away from home from the lot of them. Away from home we play with more freedom, knowing that a mistake could be made but as we are away from home there is less pressure on the side. At home there is a lack of risk taking, could it be fear of making a mistake and getting stick? I for one don’t believe in giving stick during the game, by all means I’ll boo the players at the end of 90 minutes if we lose 4-0 at home, but if there is an effort to be seen and they’re trying in a cagey affair then It’s worth sticking with the team. I’m sure a lot of fans do stick with the players but others don’t, and it’s clear to see. Players have said in interviews they’re aware of the stick and it does get in their minds, when there is a unity between the fans and players there is no better feeling. At Port Vale on Tuesday the celebrations after the goals showed the players appreciate the fans, or is that just the away fans?
Just some thoughts from myself, do you agree with any of these points? If so let me know with a comment below, would be great to hear oth