Pressure Can Do Strange Things to Players
Top of the table finish denied to a group of lads who truly deserved it.
Spurs went to West Ham last night, a team struggling to amass enough points to stay in the Premier League; a team who don’t play well at their new home ground. Win and Spurs would be just the 1 point behind Chelsea, putting a huge amount of pressure on a team that were 8 points ahead with 13 to play. But Spurs froze, lost 1-0 and effectively removed all pressure from Chelsea who now only need to win 2 games out of 4 to win the league.
That’s pressure, lads, and you now know how that feels. We played a team struggling for survival today and couldn’t make anything go for us.
So what went wrong? Apart from conceding 2 contentious goals from corners (note to self: need to practise corners over the summer :0)). Well, we spoke about one aspect at half time - some lads trying to win it on their own; either trying to beat the whole opposition or shooting from anywhere even when the shot wasn’t on (regardless of Thursday’s training session lol). I think there were also lads out there today watching some of the lads trying to win it on their own - it was so quiet on the pitch - and we were static. The number of times we won the first ball - I think Jake won every header that came his way from goal kicks - but then watched as Panthers picked up the second ball.
That’s not how we got to the top. We have been at the top for nearly the entire season because of the way we play as a team - the one-twos; the one-and-two-touch-and-pass football; the strength in the middle, always coming up with the ball and keeping the momentum going forward. And the incisive passing through to front players to use their pace and strength to score one-on-one.
So a very cagey game turned into a scary game (as Luke said!). There were moments where we played our football - Jake a first time ball for Ryan to run onto, shot just over; Sam using the space in front of him and going on a purposeful run; Alex driving to the by-line and cutting the ball back to the penalty spot; Shonit earning Star Man - a rock in defence with critical interceptions, reading the game and calm passing. But mostly we didn’t seem to want to trust our football.
And that is absolutely key. If you look up and don’t trust a player but it’s the right pass to make, we don’t care - we want you to make that pass. That other player is never going to learn if they don’t get a touch of the ball. Does it matter if they lose the ball rather than you trying to dribble or pass through the opposition players? If you consider yourself one of the better players on the team, we want you to act as coaches on the pitch - make the right pass and encourage that player whatever happens next. And make sure they demand the ball from you when they’re in a good position. Cause you know what? Next season, in Division 2, we are going to need 11 players all playing at their most confident. Think about this over the next seven days. And next week, playing exactly the same team on exactly the same pitch, put it into action. The result next week makes no odds to our league position so let’s make ourselves proud and play some football - the Roman Rangers way.