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Fiery Zac

McLean, Stiepermann and Buendia

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Mclean had a reasonable enough game last night I thought.  A few missed placed passes but some good contributions as well. Having said that I would have Mo back in a heartbeat. There was an understandable nervousness in the team I felt and Leitner is brilliant at controlling the tempo of the match. Calm and keeping possession when needed and sudden speeding up of the play when there is an opportunity. In short I think he helps with the game management. Tough on Mclean without doubt but Leitner is such a class act I don't feel we can afford to leave him out.

Having said all that what do I know and who can argue when we are winning game after game! 

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I know it's all about opinions but I do sometimes wonder if people 'watch' our games with their eyes closed. Some people in this thread have claimed that our game management wasn't very good in the second half. That would be the second half in which Krul literally didn't have a shot to save - where we dominated possession and squandered an endless stream of chances and great attacking situations. If it hasn't been for the fact that Teemu didn't have his shooting boots on for just about the first time this season we would have won by a cricket score. Farke said afterwards that it should have been 7-1 and he was right!

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McLean hasn't done a bad job since coming back in the team at all, by any measure whatsoever.

I think the problem is that he just isn't quite as good as Leitner. I remember seeing ones of these fancy statistical models ranking him as the best midfielder in the Championship before his injury.

McLean hasn't done badly as all, quite the opposite in fact. A two-goal return and at least as many key passes that lead to a goal (if not direct assists) is a decent record over the last five games that he has started.

The trouble is, if you were to pick your top three in terms of ability out of Leitner, Vrancic and McLean, I don't think many people would argue with the order I've put them in there. And as you want your best player starting in every position, by that logic Leitner, assuming he is fully fit and match sharp, should be in the 11. It would be incredibly harsh on Kenny and would also mean tweaking a team that has won 5 out of 5, so I can understand why Farke is not doing so but if I was an opposition manager, I'd be more pleased with McLean lining up against me than Mo Leitner.

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McLean showed a big improvement after the first 10/15 minutes last night. To be fair to the guy he really hasn't played a huge amount of football this season, and it took Trybull and Vrancic a considerably longer amount of time to adapt and hit top form.

I can't see how Farke can change a winning team, so I expect the same line-up against Rotherham.

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I don’t understand the obsession with substitutions other than running the clock down. If you don’t need them don’t use them. They can provide a turning point when struggling but when on top they can disrupt the teams rhythm and tempo.

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I thought McLean had a decent game. Farke obviously doesn’t like changing the side if we are winning and players are performing, so I don’t see anything changing any time soon if all are fit. Great to have such a strong bench. 

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1 minute ago, Felixfan said:

I don’t understand the obsession with substitutions other than running the clock down. If you don’t need them don’t use them. They can provide a turning point when struggling but when on top they can disrupt the teams rhythm and tempo.

Yes. It's all well and good for people like Michael Bailey (whose reports and coverage I like very much) to be very critical and suggest we needed "fresh legs" after the event, but equally if you swap players out of the spine of the team you certainly run the risk of changing the momentum of the game entirely. Equally, if we had introduced Leitner earlier and Hull had got back into the game I suggest Farke would have been subject to the opposite criticism.

We had been utterly, utterly dominant in the second half and Hull scored from what was really their only decent attack (certainly the only shot on target that I can remember), so I think it would have been an unnecessary risk to change up the 11 that had absolutely bossed the game. In fact, didn't Hull's goal come shortly after we had introduced Leitner?

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28 minutes ago, Ian said:

didn't Hull's goal come shortly after we had introduced Leitner?

About a minute after yes. However any suggestion that was the reason we conceded is ridiculous.

As I’ve said, I understand and respect Farkes policy with the starting line ups and he certainly has proven he knows what he’s doing! I just think Leitner is a better player and our midfield looked more in control when he was starting, though again that was not simply down to Leitner, Tettey played a big part in that.

I may be being harsh on McLean as such high standards were set by Leitner and then sustained and even bettered in some ways by Vrancic, but our best deep lying playmakers are sitting on the bench and that bothers me enough to scrutinise the man stepping in for them. My biggest criticism is that Mcleans not been really noticed when I’m watching a game and that’s something I never said of Leitner or Vrancic when they were playing.

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My take on it is that Leitner generally plays at a constant 7.5/8 out of 10 but without many standout moments.

McLean plays at around a 5 or 6 standard but will then pop up with one of those moment

Our style has seen us control games for the most part this year, which is why we have a tendency to clamour for Mo. Personally, I do think McLean is riding a wave at the moment and if it wasn't for winning 5 in a row he would have more heat on him.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Fiery Zac said:

About a minute after yes. However any suggestion that was the reason we conceded is ridiculous.

As I’ve said, I understand and respect Farkes policy with the starting line ups and he certainly has proven he knows what he’s doing! I just think Leitner is a better player and our midfield looked more in control when he was starting, though again that was not simply down to Leitner, Tettey played a big part in that.

I may be being harsh on McLean as such high standards were set by Leitner and then sustained and even bettered in some ways by Vrancic, but our best deep lying playmakers are sitting on the bench and that bothers me enough to scrutinise the man stepping in for them. My biggest criticism is that Mcleans not been really noticed when I’m watching a game and that’s something I never said of Leitner or Vrancic when they were playing.

Hardly ridiculous to suggest that changing the midfield balance may have had something to do with us conceding a goal. Especially when you look at the highlights and see that Leitner could easily have got closer to Lichaj and got a foot in just before Martin's goal. Not exactly busting a gut to get back and protect the defence is he?!

We all have our favourite players, and that's fine, but it's a bit odd to suggest that McLean's not really contributed (I assume that's what you mean by "being noticed") when he had a match-winning contribution against Bristol City, and 2 assists in the handful of games he's played since returning from injury. Especially when you consider that's more goals and assists than Leitner has had all season, although I accept that's not the only metric to judge a midfielder on.

I'm a big fan of Vrancic and Leitner (defending the former against some ridiculous criticism he got last season and earlier in this), but I don't think it's a no-brainer decision to drop McLean for either of them when the team is winning matches and he is contributing goals and assists.

 

Edited by Ian
typo

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Posted (edited)

Look, with fear that this thread is being taken out of context, no one is saying that Mclean had a poor game last night, he didn't, he had a 'good' game.

It just felt, to me and obviously quite  a few others, that, at the 60 minute (ish) mark, that we would not have lessened our grip on the game, but may actually have taken it on a step further, with Leitner or Vrancic coming on. Now, with hindsight, Hull were the only team to score after that, and we didn't dominate the midfield from then (60 mins ish)on, it was probably parity, but Hull certainly showed after that time, that they had something about them. Parity for 30 odd minutes is ok when you are 3-1 up against a poor side, and you want to preserve energy, but Hull showed they were no mugs, and we all know that we have a penchant for letting in goals when dominating a game (*cough*  Tim)

The bonus of changing would be to get fresh legs on, hopefully take  the game away from Hull, and carry on giving a quality squad valuable game time. This isn't a charity, s just giving players game time for the sake of it, is not something I am advocating here.

I would start with Mclean on Saturday, absolutely, and if he dominates the game, then keep him on for 90 mins, but we have that luxury of quality in our squad that will allow us to  take a game a level up, even when are winning 3-1. It's not a bad thing to try, especially with next season in mind

Edited by Crabbycanary3

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12 hours ago, glory.win or die. said:

Its funny how opinions vary. Mcclean started very poorly so I think that influenced opinion on the whole game.

I actually thought trybull was below par today but then I guess he's the only real defensive minded midfielder so can be fighting a losing battle sometimes.

I think overall the midfield were poor defensively, quite a few passes and flicks going astray, and lots of backing away and leaving space for Hull to run into, though I suppose you even attack and be open like us or defend and be like middlesbro 

Not surprised Trybull was  his usual self, got battered all night with little protection

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19 minutes ago, Ian said:

Hardly ridiculous to suggest that changing the midfield balance may have had something to do with us conceding a goal. Especially when you look at the highlights and see that Leitner could easily have got closer to Lichaj and got a foot in just before Martin's goal. Not exactly busting a gut to get back and protect the defence is he?!

We all have our favourite players, and that's fine, but it's a bit odd to suggest that McLean's not really contributed (I assume that's what you mean by "being noticed") when he had a match-winning contribution against Bristol City, and 2 assists in handful of games he's played since returning from injury. Especially when you consider that's more goals and assists than Leitner has had all season, although I accept that's not the only metric to judge a midfielder on.

I'm a big fan of Vrancic and Leitner (defending the former against some ridiculous criticism he got last season and earlier in this), but I don't think it's a no-brainer decision to drop McLean for either of them when the team is winning matches and he is contributing goals and assists.

 

Yes, apologies, my reply was more thinking of a comment previously around needing a better tempo and control of the midfield which Leitner wouldn’t be able to create in the one minute he had been on the pitch. So it could be argued Leitner could’ve ‘busted a gut’ to get back, however he made less mistakes in the 10 mins he was on the pitch than McLean did in the first 10 mins of the match.

No, ‘being noticed’ meant compared to Leitner and Vrancic, I don’t feel he sets the tempo and has control of the midfield in the same way. He also put more pressure on Trybull to work harder by not looking for the ball in the way Mo and Mario do.

Mclean is a more attacking player and is therefore not a surprise he has more assists and goals, however that is more evidence he has less control of midfield and doesn’t do the work of Leitner.

Different players but McLean is not playing the role Leitner or Vrancic were and I feel we were more effective with them in the team. Yes we are winning games and as I’ve said I respect Farkes policy of selection but I’d like to see more control, that control I felt we had earlier in the season.

It’s nothing to do with favourite players, I wanted to see McLean in the team. I’m going on what I see. 

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1 minute ago, Fiery Zac said:

Yes, apologies, my reply was more thinking of a comment previously around needing a better tempo and control of the midfield which Leitner wouldn’t be able to create in the one minute he had been on the pitch. So it could be argued Leitner could’ve ‘busted a gut’ to get back, however he made less mistakes in the 10 mins he was on the pitch than McLean did in the first 10 mins of the match.

No, ‘being noticed’ meant compared to Leitner and Vrancic, I don’t feel he sets the tempo and has control of the midfield in the same way. He also put more pressure on Trybull to work harder by not looking for the ball in the way Mo and Mario do.

Mclean is a more attacking player and is therefore not a surprise he has more assists and goals, however that is more evidence he has less control of midfield and doesn’t do the work of Leitner.

Different players but McLean is not playing the role Leitner or Vrancic were and I feel we were more effective with them in the team. Yes we are winning games and as I’ve said I respect Farkes policy of selection but I’d like to see more control, that control I felt we had earlier in the season.

It’s nothing to do with favourite players, I wanted to see McLean in the team. I’m going on what I see. 

Fair enough, I respect what you're saying.

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2 minutes ago, Crabbycanary3 said:

The bonus of changing would be to get fresh legs on, hopefully take  the game away from Hull, and carry on giving a quality squad valuable game time.

 

Farke mentioned in one of his interviews after the game that he didn't want to change the team when things were so finely balanced in the second half.  He obviously felt that maintaining the systems and positions in the team was important.  I rather expect that after the international break, the two weeks will be spent with the players improving their methods.  Interestingly, Godfrey will be away and I wonder if that will give Klose the advantage over him for the run in - likewise Mclean with Scotland, which would give Leitner or Vrancic (unless he is with Bosnia) the advantage.

 

 

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It wouldn't surprise me. Godfrey has been immense since coming in but has been guilty of a couple of sketchy incidents, including Hull's second goal where he failed to track Chris Martin. He's a young lad so these sorts of episodes are an inevitable part of his development, but I personally think with Klose starting centre-half last night, Chris Martin doesn't score.

However, Godfrey is contracted to be here next season, Klose isn't, so giving your young star game time over a potentially exit-bound bloke who has his 30 has some merit.

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4 hours ago, Grando said:

The hat thing was a bit distracting. Probably a lesson there for the fans to concentrate on the game, in the same way that the players need to approaching half time. 

I’d agree with MB that a freshen-up to the starting 11 wouldn’t hurt on Saturday. I’d have Vrancic in as he offers goal threat, creativity and a physical presence. I suspect it’ll be the same starting lineup though, and can’t really argue. After the international break, however, I think it’s time to pick the best team.

The hat thing was very annoying - the snakepit turned the atmosphere into a pre-season friendly and I genuinely think that got to the players. Having said that, our management team should have stopped our subs from warming up down there and sent them the other way. The game was crying out for Leitner as soon as we went to 3-1; it's all very well to "trust" your players but we lost control of midfield for long periods last night and it made an easy game very hard.

As for the Maclean argument, he is a different type of player to anyone else we have and he is still getting used to the role he is being asked to play. In particular, he is still catching up with the speed level required when we do our short pass routines so he tends to be the one caught out. He was quite poor and  frequently out of position in the first half but looked much more comfortable as the game progressed. But if we are going to keep playing the pass around at the back we have to have at least two midfield options available when our centre backs have the ball, rather than just Trybull looking to help out - when Leitner/Vrancic play with him we never look in as much danger playing out. But Maclean has scored and created a number of goals since coming in - if he can improve his other game contributions he will become some player for us.

I don't see Farke making changes while we are winning and people are not injured.

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21 minutes ago, lake district canary said:

 

Farke mentioned in one of his interviews after the game that he didn't want to change the team when things were so finely balanced in the second half.  He obviously felt that maintaining the systems and positions in the team was important.  I rather expect that after the international break, the two weeks will be spent with the players improving their methods.  Interestingly, Godfrey will be away and I wonder if that will give Klose the advantage over him for the run in - likewise Mclean with Scotland, which would give Leitner or Vrancic (unless he is with Bosnia) the advantage.

 

 

I didn't hear that interview, so going on what you have said, people may question that, if we had dominated a game up to that point, and now the game was 'finely balanced' then does that not call out for changes to be made?

Does it sound like Hull had come up with a tactical tweak to get back into the game? if so, we needed to respond. If that was the case, we didn't because the game had gone from dominance to finely balanced. Had we just dropped our high standards, allowing Hull back in? If so, we needed to change it. Would substitutions have managed that? 

We won the game, so no arguments there at all. Just looking to tweak things when we can (and have the luxury in a game to do that) If we go up, far better teams than Hull will get back into a game and do more damage than Hull did last night, so why not use the time now, to try these things? 

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4 hours ago, Petriix said:

Kenny didn't make many tangible mistakes last night, but his work off the ball is what frustrates me. When the game goes flat and we struggle to pass the ball out from the back, it is usually down to a lack of movement in the midfield. I agree that he is keeping two of the best Championship midfielders out of the team and I don't feel like he is doing quite enough to justify it. I would have definitely been bringing either Vrancic or Leitner on in his place after the third goal went in.

Leitner tends to drop deeper and always makes himself available for a pass. He dictates the tempo and moves the ball quickly, helping the team exploit any overloads created. Vrancic tends to make more direct attacking plays, looking to turn or running into space between the lines. He has been scoring and creating goals. They are too good to be on the bench every week.

 

Totally agree with this , I feel a fit again Leitner should be playing...

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As I've said before, leitner is our metronome, our sungear, our frenkie De jong. Our possession game is vastly improved , particularly in our own half, when Moritz is on the pitch.

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If Leitner had been playing in the first half, would Krul have been struggling to find a player to pass to?  Don't think so - that is Leitner's main advantage over McLean at the moment.  McLean is a number 10 - a shame Steipi already has that position sown up but there you go.  Given that Krul will now be targeted more than ever as a weak link, the sooner the metronomic Leitner is back in the side, unfortunately at McLean's expense, the easier I will breather and perhaps won't get distracted by hat tossing moments.

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Posted (edited)

Nothing wrong with McLean but he's just a slightly different player to Vrancic or Leitner. They all offer slightly different things.  I noted at DF interview he was hinting of mental as well as physical tiredness - a hint of possible changes if there ever was one. Frankly we've looked a bit jaded in several recent games at times - sloppy goals against and even Pukki hadn't his shooting boots on yesterday. I think there will be several changes for Rotherham.

As to McLean in particular I often think he's a more natural No 10 as opposed to defensive midfield. Certainly has goals in him too and offers an alternative to Stiepermann.

 

Just saw shefcanary comment - yes McLean a No. 10.

Edited by Yellow Fever
Credit

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On 13/03/2019 at 23:44, Fiery Zac said:

Fantastic result tonight. Should’ve been easier but we don’t do things like that.

Few points though:

No changes tonight yet I still thought McLean was poor overall. Particularly first half he gave the ball away a number of times and it was Trybull (who had a great game) who was looking for the ball. McLean seemed unsure of what position he was playing and I think Leitner should be back in for some more control in midfield.

The calls for changes to the line up surprised me by quite a few calling for Stiepermann to be rested. He was and is always pivotal to how we play and again showed it tonight. Not just his majestic goal but his all round play, holding the ball up, running at the defence and his strength mean he (if fit) should play every game.

What a player Buendia is. It’s been said many times but what a find and what a talent. The flick for Pukki was sublime and worth going tonight alone. Along with that he seems to be learning game by game. One particular moment he pulled out of a challenge, the sort he was making and giving away dangerous free kicks and penalties only a few games ago. He never stops running and is highly critical of himself, wanting everything to be perfect. A joy to watch and hopefully will be lighting up the PL next season (with us!).

Rotherham next, presumably same again. Not going to argue with that, Farke knows what he’s doing and will hopefully be doing it until 2022 at least!

That Kenny McClean guy is tosh lol

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😀 

That was my opinion of his performance against Hull, it hasn’t changed.

Its great he’s scored today, otbc!

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After lurking around for the season here, it's maybe time to post as well (so Hi all!).

It was great goal from McLean, but to be honest, I feel that he really hurts the possession play and amount of total chances for the team. When he is on field, midfield playmaking responsibility falls to Trybull and Buendia. Someohow it seems that he doesn't make himself that much available and has lots of bad passes giving away possession. 

If you look for example stats from today McLean has passed 23 times with percentage around 74%, while Trybull has 36 passes with about 92% success. Only Hernandez and Stieperman have worse pass percentages for whole team and their role is really to push more forward by themselves as well.

Even though the assist numbers for Vrancic and Leitner are not massive either, they both are extremely good on giving the "2nd assist" in such space that team gets good chances. You can see it especially well if you look amount and quality of chances that Pukki has received during the games that McLean has been starting.

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