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pete

Keeping it tight the secret to success

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Games in which we have failed to concede for a time a half or almost we have beaten teams most particularly at home but we have conceded early goals and put us under pressure and have lost those games.  Perhaps pragmatism needs to be employed early in games and we try to keep it out in the early stages to enhance confidence of the players to try to play our natural game.  I am sure they do not try to do this but against Burnley playing it out from the back perhaps cost us.  How can we solve this problem obviously Zimmermann is one that we cannot employ at the moment Amadou was immense against the Man C midgets but struggled against the Burnley bully boys which was always likely to be the case.  Hanley would have perhaps dealt better with the physical approach.

But keeping it tight early on is crucial.   

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To be honest we just needed to mark properly and we could/would have avoided those goals on Saturday. I don't think its necessarily a style thing (although I agree we perhaps need to be more pragmatic in the early part of games and not push the full backs on too much) but if you look at the goals we gave the ball away with a terrible pass for the second and both goals were down to really poor marking from the defence. I find this particularly disappointing given who we were playing against and the fact you know that their main (indeed pretty much only) threat comes from getting crosses into their two strikers. We should have know that was what they would do (surely we don't need to "learn" that you mark the opposition centre forward?) and the marking and defending needed to have the intensity and focus that it did against Man City but unfortunately we did not really turn up for those first 20 minutes and we paid the price. I don't know what it was down to but suspect there was a little bit of believing our own hype having been praised all week and we got caught out. 

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It was interesting how Wood played the corners - and he did it every time.  Cantwell was in position covering the far post and Wood stood next to him on every corner.   But as soon as the corner kick was taken Wood simply moved straight across the goal line behind the goalkeeper to the near post and stood waiting for the ball to come in there and try to nod it onto the empty net. 

Surely a case for someone covering the near post on corners as well as the far post. There were two of our players within reach of that near post area  (Mclean and Byram) and they were marking just one player . Mclean left his man when he saw where the ball was going and made an attempt to get the ball, but Byram was rooted to the spot. One of them could have been right on the near post and prevented Wood from having a clear header.

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