Managers routinely gloss over poor performances when it suits them. All it takes is some random late action and what was going to be a dismal defeat can be turned into a dogged point – or even a dramatic victory as happened to Sheffield United at Colchester nine days ago.
In these circumstances, managers too often play the percentages. They reason they get hammered for losing so they might as well take credit when they can.
So you get glib phrases like “there’s a lot of character in the team” or “these lads never know when they’re beaten.” I should blooming hope so !
How refreshing then to hear Nigel Clough talk of his team “getting away with it” at Colchester, on the same night, Wednesday’s Stuart Gray admitting his players “rode their luck” at Birmingham.
Of course, togetherness in adversity IS important and both Sheffield sides have a strong sense of unity now. The fact remains you have to PLAY WELL to regularly win matches and Clough knows it, after then losing 5-2 at Swindon. Now steel yourself for that other old chestnut: “Results are more important than performances.” As a long term view it’s nonsense – you need the latter to get the former.