Child’s play

Date published: Saturday 14th May 2011 11:34

Tangerines need ruthless streak for survival

If football games ended after 80 minutes, we’d be laughing right now. The amount of points we’ve thrown away in the last ten minutes of games is absolutely ridiculous and could well come back to bite us in the backside come the end of the season.

Had we managed to keep our defence tight at the end of matches this year, we’d have picked up an extra 13 points, which would have left us up with Stoke and Bolton and a long distance from the dreaded drop.

And it was the same old story on Saturday evening against Spurs. For the entire game, we were fantastic throughout the team, deserved to be ahead and could, probably should, have tied the game up. Unfortunately we did our usual party trick of not being clinical enough with our finishing and were hit by a sucker punch from Jermaine Defoe.

Last week I was complaining that we needed to be more ruthless up front in order to maintain our Premier League status. Yet again we weren’t and we’ve duly paid the price for it.

Honest

Other than, every part of our display against Spurs was second to none. The one thing that has seemingly has left a sour mark on the game was the injury to Gareth Bale, and with it a lot of uncalled for criticism of our Charlie. Looking at the tackle I concede that it was a clumsy challenge but completely disregard that there was any malice in it whatsoever.

If you watch Charlie every week you see that the way he tackles is to get his body between the opponent and the ball, exactly what he was trying to do at the weekend. Unfortunately a mixture of the speed of Bale and the addition of Keith Southern to the tackle meant that Charlie’s attempt did not happen how anyone, especially himself, would have wished it to.

He isn’t the kind of player who would do that on purpose something that was proved by the way that he profusely apologised to Bale after both the event and the match. He isn’t the first player to get caught out with a tackle like that and he certainly won’t be the last. Let’s forgive, forget and move on to next week.

Because had we held on and won three points on Saturday, then everything would feel a lot less crucial about next week’s penultimate game against Bolton. As it stands now, we have to win the game, preferably by quite a few goals, in order to build a bit of a cushion ahead of the final game at Old Trafford.

Believe

Away from our game, the weekend was filled with mixtures of joy and despair in the other matches. Seeing Wolves win was exactly what we didn’t want, allowing them to jump above us, dump us in the bottom three and make it even more difficult to keep our head above water come the 22nd May.

The one thing that did go in our favour however was the result at Old Trafford. How? I hear you say. We’re nowhere near the champions yet. Then prepare yourself for some twisted, and morally questionable logic.

Hopefully, that win for United will result in them securing the title at Ewood Park next week, leaving them to play a bunch of 8 year olds against us at the end of the season, thus giving us a much larger chance of getting what could well be a vital point.

Now normally I would be against this. I want us to stay up by doing as well as we can against the best teams in the world and with that the best players. However, if playing a much weakened side of Man United high school kids instead of Giggs and co means that we stay up for another season then I am completely willing to abandon those beliefs!

First however, we have to beat Bolton, and then believe.

Up the Pool!

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