this is one of those perfect storms of a game being particularly frustrating:
- tactics and selection all wrong from the start
- immature performance (poster before absolutely spot on) - we weren't focused and it showed
- pen against for only goal of game that was both completely unnecessary from player's perspective and softish from ref's (I'd say it's a 50/50 - certainly not a particularly horrible decision).
- the opposition was awful (see above)
- we had some good chances - you wonder what would have happened had Maddison scored
- atkinson sucked (I'm putting this last because blaming refs is a fool's game 100% of the time - but still a fact and a necessary ingredient of any top tier annoying game)
If any one of these weren't the case, we come out with a draw at worst. Ricardo was noticeably poor today, which could be partly due to the setup. I actually thought Perez did well when he came on. Maddison was great 2nd half.
The first point is the most troublesome - because this isn't the first time. I can deal with a less than poised performance at OT in a big hyped up game. I can deal with a young player making a mistake that everybody knows is going to happen every now and then (still - particularly bad timing for it). I can deal with not taking chances. And the ref seems to go against you sometimes. But the tactics and personnel is completely on us... we beat ourselves. It's so weird when a professional, well regarded manager doesn't see something that seems so obvious - specifically that a 4141 with Tielemans & Maddison central and actual wingers is consistently our best looking setup.
I'm very curious to see what happens moving forward.