So after three straight wins, the picture was looking a lot better than it had been especially with the return of a couple of the injured players as well.
We welcomed the visit of Fulham who are currently on one hell of a run and alongside Wolves are most definitely the form teams in the league.
I was interested to see how Jos Luhukay would set us up bearing in mind the way we had done against Preston. I thought the game started a little too slowly for my liking and we never really seemed to believe in ourselves enough to go and have a go at Fulham.
I can appreciate that you cannot just go hell for leather and throw caution to the wind but I also think that we had something to build on with recent results. We seem to have this incessant way of starting games slowly. We did it under Carlos Carvalhal and it seems to have carried on under Jos.
It looks to me like the emphasis is on keeping possession at nearly any cost. Am I a big believer in this? No, I’m honest. Maybe that is the love of football though, that there are so many different opinions of the game and the only real yardstick are the points at the end of the season.
When we start games slowly and are keeping possession in our own half and around our penalty area we set the tempo for the game. It is slow, pedestrian at times and if the truth be known we don’t hurt the opposition.
More times than not we end up kicking long from the keeper and so for me it has a really negative effect. I would love us to start a game with a high tempo. Get the two strikers to run the channels for the first 10 minutes, to stretch their back four which in itself will create more space for us to play in.
Throughout my career and working under an array of different managers I cannot recall a single one who didn’t place an enormous emphasis on the way that the team started games. Tempo is the word I often use and sometimes is looked on with disdain in this new age of football.
Anyway, back to Fulham and although we passed it okay we never really hurt them or asked any major questions of them. In the second half I thought they came out
and dominated us really, they had pace high up the park and Joe Wildsmith really did keep us in the game a with two or three excellent pieces of goalkeeping. I was disappointed if I’m honest but was even more disappointed at what I thought was a huge difference in the two teams. It is less than 12 months since we were
riding high above Fulham and the contrast since then really brought it home.
They have kicked on and improved, unfortunately it looked like we hadn’t.
The trip down to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday was a chance to put things right from the weekend.
It saw the return of Fernando Forestieri back into the starting line up and we reverted to a back four. After just 15 minutes the game was for to all intents and purposeso ver and done with. We conceded three really poor goals and yet again the start was slow and pedantic. It was easy to see that QPR had obviously watched us as had their forward players closing down our back four as soon and as high as they could. We lost possession time and time again in our own half and it really was a shocker of a start.
We looked all over the place and it was obvious that the line up wasn’t working. Lucas Joao and Forestieri were caught in two minds really. They didn’t know whether to play as two wide strikers alongside Atdhe Nuhui or to drop in and put cover on in front of our full backs.
At 3-0 down QPR looked to be home and dry and I was looking for some reaction from us. To be fair to the lads they pulled themselves together and did better for the rest of the half. We conceded a poor early penalty in the second half to make it 4-0 and although we managed to pull a couple of goals back it was a really poor display in my opinion.
The positive that came out of it was Forestieri getting 80 minutes under his belt and Nuhui put a decent shift in.
One to forget I’m afraid and there has to be a better reaction this Saturday at Hull who have scored nine goals in their last two games.