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inckley fox

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About inckley fox

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  • Birthday 04/09/1979

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  1. Firstly, Mahrez can pull himself out of this. A statement explaining his sadness, that he was better off staying away for a few days but that it's a pleasure to play for our fans and with our players would win most over, especially if he backed it up on the pitch. If he wants to point fingers, he can omit the board / Rudkin from what he says, and I think it would play into his hands if he appeared to have the fans back onside after all this. Secondly, the board's stance isn't as dumb as some pundits would have it. We have other players likely to go for big fees, so making clear that we won't be forced to lower prices or respond to player power could save us a lot of trouble in the long run, even if it creates short-term strife. Imagine if it dissuaded Ndidi, Maguire etc. from acting in the same way and driving down their future fees, or dissuaded other clubs / advisors from pressuring us to sell. It could be worth a lot more than Mahrez's wages, and fee, over the next 5 or 6 years. He will go, of course, but we aren't necessarily shooting ourselves in the foot along the way. And I very much doubt young players are looking at us and saying 'don't go there'. Maybe young players who are likely to pull this sort of trick, yes, but the likes of Diabate will look at how much Mahrez's career progressed at Leicester and think 'that could be me'. If the board want to tip-toe around the depression issue, we simply need someone to mention to the press that we have a duty of care to the player, and if he's suffering then he definitely will not be playing in the short-term, nor moving club in the next window, because of our long-term commitment to player welfare. Such a line might suffice to 'lift his spirits' and would paint us as treating the issue with the seriousness it deserves. All it requires is a casual 'if there's a problem like that he definitely won't be going anywhere, not in the next window, not until we're sure the situation has improved long-term'. If that isn't the issue, perhaps it should be explicitly made clear that, as a matter of course, players cannot dictate the terms of their own departure. If this happens by players failing to turn up then we can afford not to allow a move to happen until they are, literally, playing ball. Say this. So no, a player under contract who is manufacturing a move to our detriment will not be allowed that move, regardless. I wouldn't be surprised if that jolted some of his advisors who know already how firm our owners can be. For what it's worth, I understand Mahrez's disappointment but see no reason for any sympathy whatsoever. The contract is a two-way thing. Pundits who see this as unfair on Mahrez are basically saying that contracts don't need to be honoured and clubs shouldn't hold out for fees. They are doing one of two things. (1) Supporting huge divisions of wealth in football, or (2) Questioning the whole concept of big money contracts (if they don't need to be honoured) and fees (if a club shouldn't turn down an offer). (2) is fine by me, because the flexing of financial muscle by clubs like Man City wouldn't mean a great deal in a world where huge contracts and huge fees were pointless. I suspect some of these pundits are focusing more on (1) than (2), though.
  2. Fleetwood Town (A) 0-0 FA Cup 3rd Round

    He doesn't look in shape at all, nor even remotely interested. God knows what's happened there - hopefully not another Michael Johnson. Either way, I don't buy the argument that he's poor because he's been deprived of chances. I've seen enough to know that, for now, he should be nowhere near the team.
  3. Fleetwood Town (A) 0-0 FA Cup 3rd Round

    The most obvious observation is that it's a horrible thing for players of their pedigree to play on a pitch like that, in a place like that, against guys you know little about but who know everything about you. We stumbled against Grimsby and Hereford under O'Neill. Ferguson's United against Wrexham, among others. It happens to the best. And we may have got away with it. The second most obvious thought - in light of how many of these players have done for us in the past - is how can a side worth £100m+ be so inept? How can things get to a point when such investment looks so ineffective, and not only in this match. Puel can't take the blame for that, and neither do I think we should be lambasting him for the selection when you look at the value of our line-up, and consider that 7 of the 14 today either started the last game or are likely to start the next. I believe most people were, in the pre-match, hoping for an even more inexperienced line-up than the one we got. In fact, you could argue that Thomas, Hughes, Choudhury would actually be better acquainted with sides and locations like this than some of our more 'experienced' faces. So I don't see that as an issue. Beyond that, there is a question about how we've responded as a squad to the rotation in recent weeks. It's been a far greater rotation than in previous years and, while it made sense today, over time I think it's affected our cohesiveness. If I were to question Puel, it would be more about the idea of a 4-5-1, with no obvious attacking central midfielder, against weaker opposition. We've struggled for shots of late, and several people have said it's not about the quality of the opposition but rather our own set-up. Today asks a few more questions. Finally, a few individuals didn't come out of it well. The full backs weren't the biggest culprits, but both were prone to sloppy mistakes at times. King went backwards far too often, never put his foot on it and looked for the run (which meant Silva, Gray, Barnes were largely sidelined while he went backwards, and Benalouane hammered it). James was poor. Benalouane's distribution is totally incompatible with what Puel is trying to do. Slimani got no supply but didn't help himself either. Barnes made zero impact and didn't look much like a young man who was revelling in the occasion. But these things do happen and a lot of lessons were out there to be learned today. Let's not over-react.
  4. What do people expect?

    I thought Gray had a poor game, on and especially off the ball.
  5. What do people expect?

    Maybe the absence of changes did, though. Gray and Mahrez were struggling on the ball and off it, I'm not sure you have to wait so late to address that. I thought three of our midfielders were failing to close their men down - the aforementioned and Iborra - so naturally that was inviting pressure. I was yelling for Gray to be switched, perhaps for James, in order to offer more protection and I'm not sure we needed to wait so long while we had players who weren't influencing the play. That said, removing your top assist provider and scorer - and the guys who made our goal yesterday - then immediately chasing a game with attackers who hadn't yet adapted to its pace, is always going to place a question mark on your substitutions. I know we concede a lot of pre-half time goals, but it feels to me like we're also blowing games in the 55-75 minute period, either by failing to claw our way back into them or by conceding the initiative. Against Palace, we were dormant during that period. Against Watford, Man U and Liverpool we conceded a number of goals without reply at that time. Considering 55-75 is a time when some managers choose to affect games with their subs, and Puel hasn't done that - or at least hasn't done that at that time - it makes sense that people are wondering whether he could be more proactive.
  6. What do people expect?

    Not all of the criticism is unbalanced or premature. Puel needs time to bring his own people in and evolve the squad - early results, good and bad, will offer few clues as to how successful he will be in the long-term. On the other hand, you can question his decision-making and its effectiveness in the short-term - and I think it's fine to do this because the longer term success will, to an extent, depend on it. Blips can turn into something more than blips and, as we well know, they can cost managers their jobs. I questioned one of your points yesterday, in good humour I thought, because I felt you were looking at the criticism as an isolated incident, rather than in its wider context. I can see here that you're not doing this, so I tend to agree that people need to be less erratic in their appraisals. But I also understand doubts about attacking full backs, or fielding three midfielders who don't chip in as much with the pressing game as others might, or squad rotation, or the timing and effectiveness of his substitutions. If Puel - as I hope he will - recovers from this run of poor form and stays for a long time, then these gripes will seem irrelevant. As silly as people moaning about Pearson not playing Gelson Fernandes or Sol Bamba in 2011. But if we continue to leave our CBs as exposed as we are right now, and concede goals as frequently as we do right now, Puel might not get to stay for a long time. That said, I suppose management is constantly about finding answers and dodging bullets. We shouldn't ignore that - even in defeat - there was progress yesterday. The full backs sat deeper, I thought, and Amartey redeemed himself a little. And they'd clearly worked on how Schmeichel attacks set piece deliveries. Is that balanced? Or am I one of the bad guys too...?!
  7. What do people expect?

    There's some expression involving a kettle which is relevant here. It's a shame you're confusing the points I'm making, and my thoughts on the self-contradictory nature of your post, with the sort of person I am. For all you know I spend my afternoons cradling broken sparrows and knitting mittens for the needy. You've underlined my point. You make very critical observations and are happy to scapegoat individuals when you do watch games - and I think you make some good points when you do so - but this time you didn't watch the game and were suddenly, uncharacteristically, full of patience and understanding, keen to tell everyone else that they should be too. I didn't think it was a particularly valid or enlightening contribution, regardless of whether other people enjoyed your seasonal charitability. It was inconsistent of you to question people's disappointment at a single result against a top side, when you've had plenty to say in the past about us sweeping poor results against top sides under the carpet. You also confused people's critical observations about a game in its wider context (of a poor run of form), with them hating the side and changing their opinions at the drop of a hat. I'm sure some people said one thing before the game and others said another after, I'm sure some were daft enough to lambast the manager, but I felt you were making no particular point yourself. As for expectations: Do we expect to beat Liverpool? No, as you rightly say. Do we expect not to come out of those four games with just a point? Yes. Do we expect to hold onto leads better than we are right now? Yes. Should we get something out of Liverpool, bearing in mind their home record, when we're a goal up at half-time? Contrary to what you said, without watching the game, yes, again. So I couldn't agree with the over-simplification in your message, even though - as you point out - it was very well-received. When you publish something as sweepingly critical as that, I would have thought you'd expect people to question it. I'm sorry if that wasn't what you wanted to hear. Now I'll get back to demoralising my co-workers.
  8. What do people expect?

    So I'm guessing you weren't especially focused on the game. The reason I say this is that, when you do appear to be watching a game and it doesn't go well, you are usually among the first to slate us for blithely accepting bad results against top sides - often quite rightly. I can only surmise that someone at your dinner party was a calming influence today. We've attained one point from a possible twelve. A lot of people had been highly confident that Puel had put us on the right track and now they're wondering whether they were a little premature. We're among the top eight sides in terms of expenditure and our place in the top eight is clearly going to be at risk if we keep surrendering leads and defending as poorly as we are of late, be it against stronger sides or weaker sides. We know from history that you can't brush these blips under the carpet, because our two most recent blips have led to managers being fired. Half of the sides to go to Anfield this year have got something out of Liverpool which, in the context of the points we blew against Watford and Palace, means that this is a bigger disappointment than it might usually be. It was by no means unrealistic to think we were still in the game after 50 minutes, as you suggest. So no, this isn't 'animosity', at least not for the most part. It's people pointing out that we're surrendering leads and manifesting defensive frailties which can't go on. It's people worrying that our manager doesn't act quickly enough within games, but perhaps makes too many changes between them. It's people not looking at games in isolation, but rather in a context which makes them more worrying. Puel tried some quick fixes with Leicester. One of these was bringing Mahrez into games more by employing Gray as a second attacking threat, offering support by attacking full backs, providing quality supply through Iborra - and these quick fixes have thrown up problems of their own. Can we afford to have three players (Iborra, Gray, Mahrez) in the side against top sides, who don't close down very well defensively? Do Maguire and Morgan need more protection? Are our full backs effective enough in attack? Another quick fix was in trying to make us a side which doesn't need to score 2-3 goals a game in order to win - something multiple players have alluded to recently - and yet we appear to be very much a side that needs to seek the second and third goal. In spite of this, you only had to look at the positions Ndidi, Iborra and Albrighton were taking up today when we were a goal up, and Liverpool were on the half-way line, to see how intent we were on sitting deep. Before Babylon starts, it wasn't always a case of us being driven deep, this was a case of players - under no pressure to sit deep whatsoever - choosing to do so as a default. Meanwhile our attacking mids weren't closing down, and yet we chose not to bring Okazaki on. When we did make a change, we took off our top scorer and top assist provider - the two guys who made our only goal today - and subsequently conceded, then failed to find a respose. You couldn't find a better example of a failed substitution if you tried. I agree that we shouldn't be slating Puel for failing to find that quick fix and yes, he has a tough job, yes he should be given time to both determine a new way forward and find the personnel to fulfil it. But there are questions arising for which he'll have to find answers, and saying 'well what do you expect?' is one of the singularly most pointless things anyone could possibly bring to the disussion. On the plus side, I'm sure you agree that Amartey had a fine game today.
  9. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    Yes, obviously. But equally fans are always going to want their side to improve. And, as a mid-table side, we will have to do a lot better than we have in the past four games - be it against the Watfords and Palaces of the world, or the Liverpools and Uniteds, if we (a) want to stay mid-table and (b) intend to ever do anything other than be a mid-table side. I really don't see the point in so many people pointing out that we're currently a mid-table side - that's clear. As unknlowedgeable as we fans may be, post-match discussion is always going to involve fans talking about things which could be done better, especially after a loss, especially when you're a mid-table side who won the title a few years ago and wants to be more than a mid-table side. And especially especially especially when you're on as poor a run as we are. So the obvious discussion here should be about how it is that we go from the poor form we're in to the sort of form which will help us to achieve our ambitions, unless we simply have no ambitions any more. I don't understand why people feel the need to say 'look, we're mid-table, get used to it' as if that's what it is to be a good, loyal, supportive fan. You can be positive, get behind the lads, get behind the boss but still not settle for what you've got. And be careful, because this game wasn't a one-off against top quality opponents, where we endeavoured but came up short. It was the latest instalment in an on-going downturn, and if history proves anything to City fans it should be that downturns have to be taken seriously, whether you're losing to Wycombe in 2001, Huddersfield in 2013, Palace in 2014, Hull in 2016, Watford in 2017 or Liverpool in 2017. This may be a blip, it could easily be something more. So even if your priority is to maintain rather than to advance, we're going to have to get better.
  10. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    I'm disappointed, not surprised. Half of the teams to go to Anfield this season have come away with something, so when we took the lead we had every right to get our hopes up. The issue I have is with the last four games as a whole; the defensive frailties against weak and strong sides, the ineffective in-game changes, the leads we've failed to manage, the extent to which we have to depend on our defensive strengths (which aren't all that great) when we might be able to do more to test our attacking strengths (which are exceptionally good). In isolation, though, I suspect everyone can see that it was a hard-working, positive display by one of our younger-looking line-ups, and that you can't always take the game to sides like Liverpool. That said, I think you've rightly stated on more than one occasion that we can't just shrug off losses against the top sides, because mid-table sides tend to pick up a good few points from them, and if you're looking up-table rather than down-table, you can't take results like today's too lightly. Especially not in the context of the equally poor results, against weaker sides, which preceded it.
  11. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    I like Iborra and think there are ways of accommodating that particular sort of player - the 'stroller' as Matt Elliott calls them. But there's no question that his selection puts huge pressure on Ndidi, and he doesn't look like an effective 4-4-2 player, at least not when the defence behind him isn't the most mobile in the world, and you have attacking midfielders like Gray and Mahrez who also have a habit of going missing when it comes to defensive duties.
  12. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    I don't think you're right - two of those five draws were against Manchester United and Chelsea, who both went out to win the game. And even if all five had been against sides like us, you can't shrug it off in such an off-hand manner. Firstly, because Maguire has a weekly 'brain-fart' and for all his class it's proving costly. The three more humble sides who got something at Anfield - Everton, Brom, Burnley - defended better on the day than we did. If we are so limited defensively (and it's obviously our achilles heel) then we need to cover ourselves as much as possible. That may mean more defensive full backs, midfielders closing down more quickly than Iborra, Mahrez and Gray were managing to. It may mean acting quickly as a manager, during games rather than between, to deal with this. Or it may mean us appreciating that our strength is in attack, not defence and conceding that, now our defence is older and not shielded by Kante, we can no longer grind out results in the way we once did. Perhaps it's back to the rear-end of the Pearson era when he grudgingly acknowledged that we could only win games by attacking sides - we couldn't manage matches and stifle sides as we had in the past, because we didn't have those defensive qualities. Secondly, because this isn't a game in isolation. We're talking about a run of poor form against weak and strong teams alike, with leads being surrendered on three occasions. When that happens, I don't think you can look 'outwards' for answers in the way that you are (i.e. 'Liverpool always pummel sides like us, we nearly nicked something, what else do you want?'), I think we need to look at ourselves a lot more.
  13. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    Maguire certainly didn't have a great game. The left side of our defence was weaker than the right, not for the first time. You're right in saying Amartey put in a shift on the right. The criticism of Puel seems, to me, to be focused on his game management - how quickly he reacts to what he sees. I don't think anyone would blame him for the squad he has at his disposal. And some of that criticism may be justifiable. Ndidi did indeed do very well, though he missed out on a couple of key 50-50s. That's bound to happen because Iborra isn't the most mobile player off the ball, and it doesn't help that Wilf only has two CBs behind him, and our full backs tend to attack more, meaning his intervention is too often the critical one. I doubt anyone is too annoyed about this game in isolation. A lot of people seem to be taking heart in our application, and in our improvement from set pieces (with Kasper also making a concerted effort to command his box). But it's 1 point from 4 games, many of the same defensive frailties were in evidence, and we're going to have to improve. Lots of sides come away from Anfield with something, and if you don't manage that you need to be winning against your Palaces / Watfords. So the disappointment, and a lot of the more constructive criticism, makes sense.
  14. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    People are allowed to criticise, aren't they? It'd be boring if they didn't. It would also mean being endlessly satisfied- happy to settle for what we've got - and not expecting anything more. It's a very unambitious approach. And I can't go along with the implication in your message that there wasn't much we could do about losing today. Liverpool are far from invincible at home and we showed weaknesses, some of which we also make against less lofty opposition, which were costly. I'm sure the people who are disappointed with this are looking at the game in its context, i.e. one point from four, three leads given away. People's gripes won't be gripes based purely on what happened today. Today we were on the back foot because Gray and Mahrez needed to press more (Vardy was chasing shadows, they too often sat back and neither joined the defence, nor the press). Liverpool were able to set up camp in our half at times. Iborra, as fine a player as he is, was occasionally a little immobile in the middle and while Ndidi did well he missed out on some crucial 50-50s. Above all, the left half of the defence was poor, again. It's not too much to ask that we compete for a mid-table finish and we will need to improve on the weaknesses we saw today, and which we also saw in the three previous games, if that's to happen.
  15. Liverpool 2 Leicester 1 post match thread

    Amartey was fine. Albrighton always keeps the tempo up, closes players down, even when he's relatively ineffective. Harder to argue with your other points.