Date: 22nd September 2008 at 8:27am
Written by:

The best way we can put the 6-0 drubbing at Citeh behind us is to respond with something positive – and something positive against Spurs at Fratton at the weekend would make the league picture look healthier again…

Of course we do play Chelski in the league cup at Fratton on Wednesday night, so a reaction in this game would be good but I think this was always likely to be a game when we saw several changes and is most likely to be the competition that we pay less attention to this season. Do not get me wrong I do want us to win this game, and would be delighted to see us win the league cup but in the list of priorities this one – unfortunately – will be the one that is at the bottom, as it is for so many clubs these days.

Its best we do not dwell on the Citeh thrashing too much, but at the same time we cannot simply gloss over it as if it did not happen. You get one of those days from time to time, but to a degree we also had one of these days against Chelski at Stamford Bridge in our first league game of the season – although, and not to discredit Citeh who were good, Chelski were a different level of goodness on that day as poor as we were. As said Citeh were good against us yesterday and they are a decent side but no matter what anyone says they are not 6-0 better than us, if – at this point in time anyway – they even are better than us, the New Year may well change this big time!

Why we were so poor I do not really know, maybe the 3rd game in a week was too much for some but Citeh were in the same boat… Very few can come away from that mauling with any credit, and having not gone to Eastlands this season relying on radio and then highlight coverage does not really help, but I would say that only Sean Davis – and he had to go off injured early, Lassana Diarra, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe can come out of this with any credit as they kept going, kept trying and at least had a go, the rest worryingly on the whole did not want to know and more worryingly perhaps seemed to throw in the towel far too early with them willing to write the game off, shrug the shoulders and move on… I will not single people out, but I think a few need the shirt taken away from them as a result, they should not be allowed to simply carry on as if nothing has happened we have others in the squad so bring them in and let them show they want to be here, if they do those that almost did not care might start to again, if they know they are not a ‘shoe-in’ for their place in the starting 11.

Selection, formation and tactics go wrong sometimes but we do not go from having this spot on to way off course in one game so although we must be angry with this result and must be frustrated we do not need, or want to hear people suddenly going from saying what a fine side we are to a poor one. This is an eye opener for some but we cannot have gone from a really good side at 3pm yesterday to a poor one at 5pm – granted on the day we were of course but in the bigger picture we are not, a wakeup call and lesson can be, and hopefully will be, learned here.

Harry Redknapp, and he knows this, might also look at this and realise that with this many games in a week, which hopefully will be a regular thing, he cannot keep picking the same players game in game out… You have a squad for a reason, whilst it might be smaller than he would like or even expected we still have enough quality in it for players to come in and deputise, and then put pressure on for a more regular place.

Expect changes for the league cup this week, which probably would have happened anyway, but if those that come in and perform then they should be seriously considered for the following game – if players do not return to the side for Spurs then it is up to them to then force their way back in, if they sulk because they feel their ‘assured place in the team’ has gone then they are not the sort of players we want, or at least not what I want. If you feel that way more often than not you are not playing for the pride of the shirt, you are playing for others reasons and this will see debacles like we saw at Citeh happen again as a result.

Yep, it was a very bad day at the office, and I feel for those that paid to go and watch it – I have been there, as have most of us so we know what it is like when you pay your money and get a performance like that – but we show anger, frustration, discontent and so on now and then move on without dwelling too much. We do not forget this, but we hope – and this is down to the players attitude and commitment – this is not something we see much of in the future.

I look forward to every Pompey game I go to, the fact that I cannot get to Fratton this week for the Chelski game disappoints me but I am counting down the days until we face Spurs on Sunday and I expect a response, and hope that we get it – we will be demanding it anyway, and hopefully the players do care enough to want to give this…


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