Sunday, 3 February 2013

SEASON IN THE BALANCE: Tractor Boys Steamroller Bored Boro

A couple of days ago, I argued that penetration was what we needed to kick start 2012/13 again. Well, you can now add solidity - proper solidity, not pretend solidity - to that equation. More than that, choosing the correct players to play at the correct time, in the correct circumstances, and in their correct position.

Because on the evidence of yesterday's hiding, which was even worse than it looked, Boro don't have a clue.

Tactics? Commitment? Teamwork? Basics? It's all gone to pot. Ipswich didn't make Boro look ordinary - they were, as Andrew Glover has so brilliantly articulated in his most recent piece, the architects of their own downfall. Boro were sloppy, lazy and disinterested; in other words, total strangers. The claim by Mogga that our team spirit this season is better than it's ever been now looks laughable.

It would be easy to simply point out our slack marking for Tommy Smith's headed goals, however impressive the second one was. Or George Friend's shameless faffing that led to the second goal. Or the fact that Faris Haroun was muscled aside far too easily.

But it goes beyond that. They wanted it far more than we did. A side that hovered above the relegation zone and had only averaged a goal a game before yesterday hammered us without much difficulty. They hammered a team that would still be within touching distance of the automatic promotion places if they won, even if results had gone against them. Do those last two sentences need to be emphasized enough?

More importantly, what is it with Mogga's recent selection policies? Do you have to be a marquee player, or blindly loyal to the boss behind the scenes to enjoy playing for Boro?

Why was Rolls Rhys, who has barely looked like the leader we know he can be since returning from injury, squeezed into the right-back slot, limiting his effectiveness and denying us the width that the benched Stuart Parnaby may have offered? And why were Nicky Bailey and Richard Smallwood snubbed yet again? Smallwood, at 22, is hardly too young to prove himself anymore; we've seen what he can do. Ditto Bailey, as both a defensive shield and a creative influence. One must wonder if Mogga is deliberately snubbing him because he has refused to take a wage cut to stay at the club. The logic in indulging Kieron Dyer, who is being paid £10,000 per game, while either ignoring Bailey, or worse, playing him out of position, makes no sense. We have talent in this squad, and we're either misusing it or not using it at all.

It's time for Mogga to swallow his pride, bend his principles a little and play the best players we have in the correct positions for the good of the team, regardless of how little time they have left with the club, regardless of their wage packets, and regardless of how inexperienced they may seem. Bryan Robson may have known Nigel Pearson would have to call time on his playing career in 1997/98, but did that stop Robbo from playing Big Nige as often as he could?

No comments: