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Boro V Millwall 1-1 (McNair)

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3 hours ago, Tom said:

The reason people are talking about a transitional period is because it is. When Farke took over at Norwich, he lost 3 of his first 5, including a home defeat to the worst Sunderland team in 30 years. He took a team that had been coached into a pragmatic style by Neil and Irvine, and had to rip it all up and start again.

I still think we are pre transition. Farke brought in a new midfield that could lay the foundations for the rest of their rebuild. I think he added 5/6 players in his first  summer. In the second summer I think they sold maddison but added another 5/6 including Pukki and Buendia. Woodgate has not been allowed to do it probably due to budget. Until we lose the high earners I personally think we are not going to change the current style substantially and will just tread water until we do.

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It's my first chance to post since the game so apologies for the lateness. My main observation from the game is that the positions of McNair and Saville were really restrictive to our ability to pass effectively in the first half, especially after we fell apart after 20/25 minutes or so. They just weren't doing the job for the team that we needed. I think they're looking at pushing forward far too early which leaves our deeper lying core of Howson, Shotton, Ayala, Bola and Clayton short of a simple passing option and often led to trying to force a pass through to them or another attacker, and subsequently losing possession unnecessarily. It's staggering really considering 4-3-3 should provide a solid midfield base to build possession based attacks through. McNair in particular was always regularly positioned way too far forwards when our deeper players had possession. Even box-to-box midfielders need to hold their position at times. A calming intelligent head like Howson linking everything up in CM looking to link up with Clayton and the fullbacks would have benefited us massively. I think we would be far more effective if McNair and Saville would hold their position for the initial phase of passing out of defence - such as when Clayton and their nearest fullback is on the ball - and then when we're past that first phase look to make them runs forward.

We improved it massively in the second half as Saville and McNair kept either side of Clayton. In the second half the shape was far more clear with them two often drifting over to a wing back position with Bola or Howson ahead of them as an option, which gave us an overload in wide areas - though that was also helped with Johnson coming on for Browne who looked pretty out of his depth at this level. 

Our midfielders always pushing forward left us very vulnerable at times too. The balance between goal threat, defensive solidity and ability to pass through midfield is poorly balanced and inconsistent at the moment. Hopefully Woodgate learns quickly as we're miles off being promotion material at the moment.

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Seemed like towards the end of the first half there was no willing from our players to get into a space to receive the ball. Felt like when we were a bit under the cosh our heads dropped. 

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32 minutes ago, Foogle said:

Seemed like towards the end of the first half there was no willing from our players to get into a space to receive the ball. Felt like when we were a bit under the cosh our heads dropped. 

This is one of the biggest problems I've seen and it was a problem under Pulis - our midfield don't make the short runs to open up space - at least, they don't when they're under pressure and panicking a little.

We saw in the second half they can do it, played some really nice small passing triangles, but they tend to just fall into bad habits very quickly.

I think getting the Pulis stink off of our team is going to take a long time, and multiple transfer windows, but I'm hopeful with the few green shoots we see every game.

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7 hours ago, Denzel Zanzibar said:

Lol crawl back into your hole.

If thats the best constructive statement you can make? 

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7 hours ago, wilsoncgp said:

I've honestly no idea what you're going on about here. I'm not expecting a big return on points in the next 3 to 5 games, all I've said was we have shown evidence of trying to execute a high press but that we're not doing it non-stop because we never intended to. You've said it's not visible in any shape or form. You also said you've played football so you know what to expect so if anything, I'd like to listen to your experience and understand what you expect from Woody's team and what I'm supposedly misunderstanding about a high press.

We can or will disagree on the visibility of a fast high pressing game but my point is why make the statement in the first place as it puts pressure on players and because fans do understand the game. We are not Liverpool or city or a Leeds and we need a system that best suits the players present or bought for an intended system. I’m more concerned with the points total and the quality of football played to date rather than systems, formations or individuals and this beach mark set by others will be reviewed in another 3 to 5 games. I’ll withdraw my statement that may have implied you be held to account for the total. I’m joking because it was a bad choice of wording being tired from a long journey back from Thailand. 

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14 minutes ago, sanddancer said:

We can or will disagree on the visibility of a fast high pressing game but my point is why make the statement in the first place as it puts pressure on players and because fans do understand the game. We are not Liverpool or city or a Leeds and we need a system that best suits the players present or bought for an intended system. I’m more concerned with the points total and the quality of football played to date rather than systems, formations or individuals and this beach mark set by others will be reviewed in another 3 to 5 games. I’ll withdraw my statement that may have implied you be held to account for the total. I’m joking because it was a bad choice of wording being tired from a long journey back from Thailand. 

If I recall correctly he said his preferred style was the high press. I remember him saying he thought we had goals in the side as well. I am happy to be corrected as I am not going to trawl back through his initial interview but I dont remember him saying he had the squad to play his pressing style. He has not been backed by the chairman / recruitment team probably due to ffp issues with the legacy of large wages and is doing his best with an expensive but underwhelming squad. He has tried every combination in midfield but other than the occasional glimpse of a threat, such as mcnairs lovely run to score yesterday it is not clicking. The forward 3 are equally frustrating. Obviously everyone will have their own expectations but I dont think it is wrong to suggest  that he needs time to build a squad that is fit for the purpose he foresees. 

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20 minutes ago, sanddancer said:

We can or will disagree on the visibility of a fast high pressing game but my point is why make the statement in the first place as it puts pressure on players and because fans do understand the game. We are not Liverpool or city or a Leeds and we need a system that best suits the players present or bought for an intended system. I’m more concerned with the points total and the quality of football played to date rather than systems, formations or individuals and this beach mark set by others will be reviewed in another 3 to 5 games. I’ll withdraw my statement that may have implied you be held to account for the total. I’m joking because it was a bad choice of wording being tired from a long journey back from Thailand. 

Do you not think the fans needed some clarification on what the manager wants us to do after the last 18 months? The intended style has been a point of contention for some time, some fans said they wouldn't renew their season ticket without that clarification. Some were saying that Woody was Pulis' understudy so would probably play in a similar way. I'd say if anything that had he said nothing about the style that the first few games would be even more disappointing as nobody would really understand what we want to do and I reckon he'd have been getting more pelters. By saying how he wants to play and requesting patience, he's acknowledging things aren't going to change overnight. I don't think the entire system will be set in stone by 10 games either.

I don't know how the majority of fans think, going by some comments I've heard and read I'm not sure he'll get the time from the fans the club as a whole thinks he needs. The fact some fans want rid of him already or will decide as such within 10 games is laughable for me. I know everything Pulis says is deemed as wrong by most people but he said that managers don't get time these days and with some fans, I think he's right. I was at the Crewe game and one bloke was shouting that Woody was out of his depth and that he should walk. Just what? If a manager doesn't get off to a perfect start in any conditions, some fans think they're the next worst thing on the chain of managers. It's unrealistic to expect any kind success from a manager with very little backing within 10 games. Just go along for the ride, give them a chance and get behind them until actually proven otherwise.

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5 hours ago, p_mards said:

It's my first chance to post since the game so apologies for the lateness. My main observation from the game is that the positions of McNair and Saville were really restrictive to our ability to pass effectively in the first half, especially after we fell apart after 20/25 minutes or so. They just weren't doing the job for the team that we needed. I think they're looking at pushing forward far too early which leaves our deeper lying core of Howson, Shotton, Ayala, Bola and Clayton short of a simple passing option and often led to trying to force a pass through to them or another attacker, and subsequently losing possession unnecessarily. It's staggering really considering 4-3-3 should provide a solid midfield base to build possession based attacks through. McNair in particular was always regularly positioned way too far forwards when our deeper players had possession. Even box-to-box midfielders need to hold their position at times. A calming intelligent head like Howson linking everything up in CM looking to link up with Clayton and the fullbacks would have benefited us massively. I think we would be far more effective if McNair and Saville would hold their position for the initial phase of passing out of defence - such as when Clayton and their nearest fullback is on the ball - and then when we're past that first phase look to make them runs forward.

We improved it massively in the second half as Saville and McNair kept either side of Clayton. In the second half the shape was far more clear with them two often drifting over to a wing back position with Bola or Howson ahead of them as an option, which gave us an overload in wide areas - though that was also helped with Johnson coming on for Browne who looked pretty out of his depth at this level. 

Our midfielders always pushing forward left us very vulnerable at times too. The balance between goal threat, defensive solidity and ability to pass through midfield is poorly balanced and inconsistent at the moment. Hopefully Woodgate learns quickly as we're miles off being promotion material at the moment.

I had a similar opinion in the area that was a problem, although I have a slight difference on the cause. 

image.thumb.png.e5f19e8ac95c1704d8e552c9958d7cf4.pngI believe the start of the issue is that in possession of the ball Clayton dropped too deep to collect, McNair and Saville largely go wide in an attempt to receive it. There are several problems with this. Firstly that centre of the field is now free of Boro players (See red square in image) and this can and was exploited. We lost the ball several times in the first half and Millwall worked it into the centre and were able to run at us uncontested. We cannot allow that to happen against better teams.

Secondly when Clayton turns there he either plays it wide, where Millwall expect it (and can try to intercept) or he drives forward (something he isn't good at). In possession we need to get CMers who are prepared to get on the ball and turn, if Clayton cannot drive forward with it, he shouldn't play in that role. If he can't ping passes to the wings with consistency he shouldn't be in that role.   With the ball we were effectively a 5-man backline, 2 CMers playing wider than they should and then 3 forwards. 

McNair and Saville need to be braver and drop for the ball, they can't just keep going wide, because Millwall read that and so will other teams. Now going forward into other games, we need someone to be brave and drop into that position, Howson is probably our best midfielder at doing that, we need to get Dijksteel up to speed, to release Howson to get on the ball in CM.

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3 hours ago, wilsoncgp said:

Do you not think the fans needed some clarification on what the manager wants us to do after the last 18 months? The intended style has been a point of contention for some time, some fans said they wouldn't renew their season ticket without that clarification. Some were saying that Woody was Pulis' understudy so would probably play in a similar way. I'd say if anything that had he said nothing about the style that the first few games would be even more disappointing as nobody would really understand what we want to do and I reckon he'd have been getting more pelters. By saying how he wants to play and requesting patience, he's acknowledging things aren't going to change overnight. I don't think the entire system will be set in stone by 10 games either.

 I don't know how the majority of fans think, going by some comments I've heard and read I'm not sure he'll get the time from the fans the club as a whole thinks he needs. The fact some fans want rid of him already or will decide as such within 10 games is laughable for me. I know everything Pulis says is deemed as wrong by most people but he said that managers don't get time these days and with some fans, I think he's right. I was at the Crewe game and one bloke was shouting that Woody was out of his depth and that he should walk. Just what? If a manager doesn't get off to a perfect start in any conditions, some fans think they're the next worst thing on the chain of managers. It's unrealistic to expect any kind success from a manager with very little backing within 10 games. Just go along for the ride, give them a chance and get behind them until actually proven otherwise.

Most fans haven't got a clue about tactics, it's a pointless exercise to talk tactics to them, it will only be misunderstood then used to beat the manager with later.

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3 hours ago, TAPOUT said:

If I recall correctly he said his preferred style was the high press. I remember him saying he thought we had goals in the side as well. I am happy to be corrected as I am not going to trawl back through his initial interview but I dont remember him saying he had the squad to play his pressing style. He has not been backed by the chairman / recruitment team probably due to ffp issues with the legacy of large wages and is doing his best with an expensive but underwhelming squad. He has tried every combination in midfield but other than the occasional glimpse of a threat, such as mcnairs lovely run to score yesterday it is not clicking. The forward 3 are equally frustrating. Obviously everyone will have their own expectations but I dont think it is wrong to suggest  that he needs time to build a squad that is fit for the purpose he foresees. 

he did say high press. But all that tells you is our tactic out of possession. There are 4 key phases of open play that you need to consider In possession, out of possession, positive transition, negative transition. High press is only 25% of your basic tactics, and even then it can be implemented in differing ways, so he has only described one element of 25% of our philosophy.

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9 hours ago, wilsoncgp said:

Do you not think the fans needed some clarification on what the manager wants us to do after the last 18 months? The intended style has been a point of contention for some time, some fans said they wouldn't renew their season ticket without that clarification. Some were saying that Woody was Pulis' understudy so would probably play in a similar way. I'd say if anything that had he said nothing about the style that the first few games would be even more disappointing as nobody would really understand what we want to do and I reckon he'd have been getting more pelters. By saying how he wants to play and requesting patience, he's acknowledging things aren't going to change overnight. I don't think the entire system will be set in stone by 10 games either.

I don't know how the majority of fans think, going by some comments I've heard and read I'm not sure he'll get the time from the fans the club as a whole thinks he needs. The fact some fans want rid of him already or will decide as such within 10 games is laughable for me. I know everything Pulis says is deemed as wrong by most people but he said that managers don't get time these days and with some fans, I think he's right. I was at the Crewe game and one bloke was shouting that Woody was out of his depth and that he should walk. Just what? If a manager doesn't get off to a perfect start in any conditions, some fans think they're the next worst thing on the chain of managers. It's unrealistic to expect any kind success from a manager with very little backing within 10 games. Just go along for the ride, give them a chance and get behind them until actually proven otherwise.

If a statement was needed to appease fans and improve the chances of selling season tickets a simpler intent could have been made possibly along the lines of a more positive  football or fortress at home or possibly changes have to be made. Since Southgate appointment most fans don’t believe much the club states anyway and not many agree with Woodgate appointment but they do know the club is in decline and has to change to survive so a statement should have been well thought out and made collectively and Woody should be fully supported with resources to ensure visibility it’s working. 

Points. I stated earlier I don’t care about formations, systems or individuals and I’ll keep repeating the same that points are all that matter. Why, because gaining points adversely implies your playing better than your opponent and no doubt fans become more supportive and players competitive. 

There is no denying the club is in transition and has been for quite awhile and on a couple of occasions the club throw money in trying to correct SG bad decisions. SG should have thrown what was needed to stay in the Premier and he should not have hired the likes of Southgate and those that followed. 

Football clubs don’t make money and SG has done what he can with the financial resources available to him but unfortunately it’s not enough in today’s game. The game has to change if we are to have the amount of clubs today compete but I believe we are or will see clubs disappear in the next couple of years simply because only the Premier elite can afford to pay the pathetic sums players and agents demand. 

Rant over.. 

 

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I get that you're saying points determines success, yes it does. But it's all relative and not every club can achieve success in terms of points gained every week, it's a competition where we earn at the expense of opposition. And expectation is ultimately what determines whether the number of points we achieve is relatively good. I think our expectations should be lower than the last two years, there are numerous factors as to why that is like money spent compared to rivals, recent history of spending money badly, buying up and coming League One players, hiring a rookie coaching staff, changing playing philosophy from something we've been doing the majority of the last 6 years, etc. etc. We didn't expect immediate success from Karanka for similar things and that bore fruit in the end, it was a long term thing, Karanka was successful in applying his style but he didn't get us promoted until his 2nd full season. Woody needs time or we can't really say whether he succeeded or not, in my opinion.

As for the stuff about how to address supporters concern, we're going to have to respectfully agree to disagree. I don't see why what Woody said should have put any significant pressure on him. But then here you are saying you see no evidence of a high press and you're definitely not alone in calling him out on that and others are already using it as a stick to beat him with, so maybe I'm wrong.

Completely agree regarding how clubs are run too. Far too much risk considering only 3 teams in our division can get out of it to the riches they want. And whilst I think SG would never let us face potentially going out of business and will adjust the running of the club to avoid that, he has been a victim of the lure of the Premier League money too. And if the risks he's taken directly affect how much money he needs fans to put in, he's going to lose support from some sectors.

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Just watched the highlights and from there it looked like we didn't deserve three points. But how on earth did the referees miss tha blatant handballs. Especially the first one was clear as day. Very poor refereeing indeed. It sounds like we aren't really moving forward. Granted it's still early but we still look like a very mediocre team and I fear what will happen when we go up against Fulham, Leeds, WBA etc. Woodgate has a massive job on his hands to get this team playing well. Bristol City away on saturday and I think that cuold well be a hammering. After that we have 14 days to work on stuff and get Fry back in the team. 

I must admit I was hoping for a play off spot this season as we still have plenty of players that would walk into most Championship teams, but from what I've seen I don't think we will get anywhere near top-6.

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21 minutes ago, Borodane said:

Just watched the highlights and from there it looked like we didn't deserve three points. But how on earth did the referees miss tha blatant handballs. Especially the first one was clear as day. Very poor refereeing indeed. It sounds like we aren't really moving forward. Granted it's still early but we still look like a very mediocre team and I fear what will happen when we go up against Fulham, Leeds, WBA etc. Woodgate has a massive job on his hands to get this team playing well. Bristol City away on saturday and I think that cuold well be a hammering. After that we have 14 days to work on stuff and get Fry back in the team. 

I must admit I was hoping for a play off spot this season as we still have plenty of players that would walk into most Championship teams, but from what I've seen I don't think we will get anywhere near top-6.

A point was fair, they were dominant first half, we were dominant second half.

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