BORO were woeful at Blackpool. Tony Mowbray got the team and the tactics wrong and they got gubbed.
But, dear me, there is no need for knee-jerk reactions. Sure, as fans we are all going to be hurt when Boro get tonked and a fair few cats on Teesside would’ve got a kick or two.
But after the game when I read some of the guff on message boards and Twitter I couldn’t believe it: Mogga should go, this player is rubbish, that player is rubbish, we’re going nowhere fast…
It’s too early to say those things or be over-critical. We’ve hardly started. Going from one extreme to another is all part of being a fan. If we keep winning at home people will be saying we are nailed on for promotion. If we keep losing away then they’ll be saying we’re certs for the drop. That’s football.
But it’s too early to make a call on this team yet. Mogga has made 12 signings in the summer and this new-look team hasn’t even started to gel yet.
You need to give it 12 or 14 games before you see exactly how a team is shaping up.
That gives new players the chance to bed in and for the manager to find a shape and his first choice 11.
There’s no timescale for that. Some players can slot straight in and they’re away. Others take a few months to find their feet. Some take a whole year.
Look at Lukas Jutkiewicz. He’s been here since January and has had 20 games but has he bedded in yet, has he found a settled role and shown us what he can do? I don’t think so. And Ishmael Miller. He’s a big lad and Mogga obviously knows what his strengths are but as yet, he hasn’t shown them for Boro – but he hasn’t really had the chance yet. The guys behind him haven’t learned what he can do or how to play him and give him the service to thrive on and he hasn’t had the chance to play alongside a regular partner and you need that up front.
You need time to learn how to play off another striker. What runs will he make? Which high balls is he going to win and where is he going to knock it down? How fast can he turn and run so you can pick a pass and play to his feet?
A striker needs to know he is going to be in the team and who he is going to play with.
Is it going to be Miller and Jutkiewicz? Or Miller and Emnes? Or Jutkiewicz and Emnes? Or any of those with AN Other? I don’t know. And I don’t think Mogga knows.
In fact, I don’t think Mogga even knows his first choice team yet. I’m not sure he is even close to deciding that.
We haven’t seen the same team twice. We have used 24 players in the league already after just six games. That’s crazy.We need to get that sorted quickly if we are to settle and find some form and be up there and challenging because, for me, you only get the best out of players when they know where they stand.
I know as a player I wanted to be sure I was in the team and then I could focus and prepare and be confident going into games. If you don’t know if you are in the team on Saturday it can unsettle some players.So for me Mogga has to decide on his best XI and give them a run of games so they can learn to function as a team. The best players can’t gel if they don’t player together every week.
And he has to pick the players who are in form. If guys play well they need to be rewarded by keeping their place.And they need to know if they keep on producing they will keep the shirt. That’s the incentive.
What must young Luke Williams and Adam Reach think when they play out of their skins and get goals and put in man-of-the-match displays then get dropped?
They have been among the best and most creative performers so far this term so I was shocked and surprised when they weren’t even on the bench at Blackpool.
I am a massive Mogga fan but for me he changes the team and the tactics too often.
He thinks it is horses for courses and sets his team out depending on how he thinks the opposition will play then selects players to suit that shape. Mogga is becoming the Teesside Tinkerman.
I don’t think you can do that. You shouldn’t over-think it, over-complicate it. It confuses the players if you switch tactics every week and ask them to play different styles and roles.
Players aren’t coaching gurus. They don’t want to read a dossier on the opposition’s tactics. They just want to play their own game the way they know best. That’s how you get the best from them.
You can’t ask them to play an unnatural role or do things that are against their instinct just because it works in theory on the tactics board.
There are too many coaches these days who have got all the badges and read all the books and who try to be a bit too clever, second guessing each other and trying to spring a tactical surprise.
I played under John Rudge at Port Vale and he was one of the first like that.
You didn’t know from one week to the next where and how – or if – you were supposed to be playing.
It doesn’t work. You may get the odd success and be hailed as a tactical genius by other coaches but overall it always goes wrong because chopping and changing will never get the best out of players.
Players are simple folk. They just want the manager to pick the best players, the in-form players, and put them in positions they are used to and then let them get on with it.
As they say, football is a simple game played by simple players made complicated by fools.
So let’s see Boro playing a settled side, their best side and that side starting to gel. And sooner rather than later.
Thanks to Evening Gazette.